North Korea’s missile test in Kusong – a different perspective

On Sunday, May 14, 2017 North Korea launched a long-range missile apparently targeting Japan having flown for about 435 miles before landing in Japanese Sea, around 400 kilometers from North Korea’s east coast, according to Voices of America. This is not the first time that missiles have launched from Kusong. In November 2016 a second launch within a week at the time was conducted there, as reported by CNN, near the military Banghyon Airport (or Panghyon Airport, according to Wikipedia). Surprisingly I did not come across a report that would make any mention about the military airport in connection with the latest missile launch. It will be aimed at the airport in connection with the latest missile launch and some surroundings. It won’t have any purpose to speculate one way or another.

 

Using the Google Earth application, I made several snapshots of the military airport. The first snapshot shows the airfield where aircraft is supposed to take off and land (see top of the picture). It could be noticed that there are 19 aircraft parked next to each other:

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Further down, in a tighter section of the airfield, more aircraft could be identified. The timing of when the satellite imagery was taken is unknown, so while it cannot be confirmed or denied, it looks like the four aircraft on the airfield are moving preparing to take off, while an unknown number of aircraft had been parked next to three buildings with blue roofs. Even further down (see next image) 22 aircraft (also accounting for 5 aircraft on the very left, barely visible from the snapshot) could be identified having parked off of the airfield.

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Going right, there appears to be a local road connected to the airfield as well as to the buildings next to the parked aircraft on the second snapshot (on top left corner you will see one of the three buildings with the blue roof).

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That road makes a right curve going south and a left curve going east. Due to no access to enough information, I cannot determine the purpose of the buildings to the left.

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Going east there were two alternatives for me to follow, and I decided to go further south where there is a residential area. I identified three residential areas in the airport’s vicinity which, according to Google Earth, is Panghyon-Dong. Notice that unlike the area with the buildings near the airport (above) that area is a lot greener.

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The last set of images represents the eastern part of Panghyon-Dong, also connected with that route.

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More research is necessary about the area in order to determine whether any of these buildings, especially the ones next to the military airfield, is of any significance to what appears to be not the first missile launch in the area. However, the proximity of a military airport itself is a good starting point to explain the choice of location for that missile launch.

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