Despite recent reports showing North Korea's initiative to dismantle its Sohae Satellite Launching Station, US intelligence sources have indicated that all efforts put forth could be reversed.
Satellite imagery first published by outlet 38 North on Tuesday showed a rail-mounted processing building, where space launch vehicles are assembled, being dismantled, as its roof and supporting structures are partially removed. A large construction crane can also seen next to the structure.
In a second set of images, a rocket engine test stand is seen "razed and removed" as two fuel/oxidizer bunkers are being prepared for the same process. According to 38 North analyst Joseph Bermudez, with the test site seeming to be "completely dismantled" in two days time, it would suggest that the work likely began "within the past two weeks."
But even though the site appears to have been put out of service, North Korea could easily restart the launching station. A US intelligence source told The Diplomat that the structures could be "reconstituted within months."
"The engine test stand tear down does not severely impact North Korea's liquid fuel engine development," the source added, before suggesting that Pyongyang could also be relocating the structure to another base.