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New N. Korean rocket launch site near completion: think-tank

Undated photo released by KCNA on December 15, 2012 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un visiting the Sohae Space Center in Cholsan County, North Phyongan ProvinceNorth Korea will be able to test longer-range rockets at its new launch site before the end of this year, a US think-tank has said. Satellite images taken this month indicate that several significant construction projects there are nearing completion despite heavy rain this summer, the US-Korea institute at Johns Hopkins University said in a post dated Thursday. “The effort under way since late last year — to upgrade the gantry tower and launch pad — that will enable the North Koreans to test space launch vehicles with greater ranges and carry larger payloads than the Unha rocket fired in 2012 should be finished by fall,” it said. There is little doubt that North Korea has an active ballistic missile development programme, but it remains unclear how much progress it has made.

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