April 9 (UPI) — Recent satellite images of North Korea indicate the regime may have begun building a new coal yard in a seaport in South Pyongan Province.
The images, available on Google Earth and analyzed by Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, the French national space agency and Airbus, date from March 14, Voice of America reported Monday.
The analysis concludes the images show a large pile of coal in Nampo’s container port and in areas north of the site.
Satellite images show the site has been accumulating coal over time and at least since November 2017.
The North Koreans might also be building a new coal yard about a mile west of the port.
Choi Kyung-soo, president of the North Korea Resources Institute in Seoul, said the construction of the coal yard is an indication North Korea is moving to restart coal exports despite international sanctions.
“Possibly because of the China-North Korea summit, North Korea, in anticipation of the easing of sanctions, may have been preparing its coal exports,” Choi said.
He added North Korea is not likely to resume coal exports given the current climate of embargoes against Pyongyang.
North Korea’s engagement with the South, and with Beijing, has been followed by backchannel communication between Washington and Pyongyang.
CNN reported Saturday the regime has been in “secret” talks with a team at the Central Intelligence Agency.
Officials from both sides have spoken several times and have met in a third country, according to the report.
North Korea has been increasing diplomatic trips following the détente with the South.
Russia’s Tass news agency reported Monday North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho would meet with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday.