(CNN) — There are new concerns about North Korea after a warning this week from Kim Jong Un’s regime: He says his country is ready to use nuclear weapons against the United States at any time.
Now, the north is trying to conceal feverish activity at a rocket site.
It has already showed the world it can launch a satellite into space, and U.S. intelligence believes sometime in the next two weeks the regime will do it again, but this time in secret, hoping to avoid the prying eyes of U.S. spy satellites overhead..
North Korea insists its only plan is launching a satellite on top of a long-range rocket, but according to Joe Cirincione of the Ploughshares Fund, “there isn’t a country in the world that has a space launch facility that looks like this. No country in the world hides their assembly of their space launch vehicle. You can observe it for days, for weeks. North Korea is clearly trying to develop a military capability here.”
An underground rail line delivers the missile parts inside a movable building. The parts are unloaded out of view of spy satellites, then the whole structure is moved to the launch pad.
At the other end, the missile is assembled. A cover on the launch tower conceals the assembly and fueling of the missile — the result, the U.S. only sees a missile shortly before launch, with little or no warning.
If it all works, it gets Kim Jong Un closer to his apparent ultimate goal. “It’s very clear the North Koreans want to develop what they do not have now,” Cirincione said, “the ability to launch a nuclear missile and hit the United States.
“I think that you have a leader in North Korea who has nuclear weapons and is seeking the means to militarize them and deliver them intercontinentally.”
It all comes as Pyongyang says it has restarted a nuclear reactor to make fissile material.
The North Korean news agency says the regime’s nuclear arsenal is being improved in quality and quantity.