These photos of North Korea should be a grave cause for concern

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Aerial photos from above North Korea could be a major cause for concern for the rest of the world.

Unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine (UDMH) is the liquid engine rocket fuel that Kim Jong-un and his scientists depend upon to test (and fire) their missiles.

It has been used to launch the secretive nation's Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) and the Hwasong-12 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), both of which have been tested this year.

Experts believed that North Korea had the capability to produce UDMH, but no evidence has previously been found to support that.

However, new photographic evidence published by 38 Northwould suggest that North Korea has sufficient means to produce the fuel without relying on foreign sources.

The photographs show several different large production sites or factories in the country that could potentially produce UDHM.

Picture:Picture: 38 North

Picture:Picture: 38 North

If this is true it would, in theory, give North Korea access to the fuel that is so vital to their missile program.

The analysis by 38 North was conducted by Joseph S Bermudez Jr, Michael Elleman and Curtis Melvin.

These potential discoveries are now likely to open further debates about the technology available to North Korea and whether they can truly produce their own fuel.

Picture:Picture: 38 North

Picture:Picture: 38 North

North Korea's UDMH production has been speculated in the past but it is hard to ascertain whether these images are concrete proof of UDMH factories.

Shea Cotton, a research associate at California's James Martin Centre for Nonproliferation Studies feels that the images shouldn't be seen as 100 per cent proof just yet. quote him as saying:

The thing with UDMH production is that the production facilities required to make it look a lot any other chemical production facility.

So it’s hard to know if you’ve found one just by looking at satellite pictures. In this piece from 38 North it looks like they found a few potential sights.

Picture:Picture: 38 North

Picture:Picture: 38 North

North Korea has so far tested 15 missiles this year, one of which flew over northern Japan.

However, there have been no signs of activity since their last test on 15 September.

Nuclear disarmament campaigner John Hallam doesn't feel that these photos are an indication that Kim's regime are gearing for another test and it could mean something altogether different.

The existence of extensive facilities for UDMH production does however indicate that the DPRK prioritises it highly and doesn't want to be reliant on outside suppliers.

In fact I imagine that with three or four UDMH production facilities, the DPRK might even be looking to export some production.


More: This photographer captured everyday life in North Korea on his phone​

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