North Korea 'rebuilding structures at rocket site'

North Korea is reportedly restoring facilities at its long-range rocket launch site that it had dismantled as part of disarmament steps last year.

The development came after a high-stakes nuclear summit last week between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US president Donald Trump ended without any agreement.

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Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in Vietnam
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Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in Vietnam
US President Donald Trump attends a press conference following the second US-North Korea summit in Hanoi on February 28, 2019. - The nuclear summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in Hanoi ended without an agreement on February 28, the White House said after the two leaders cut short their discussions. (Photo by Saul LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference following the second US-North Korea summit in Hanoi on February 28, 2019. - The nuclear summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in Hanoi ended without an agreement on February 28, the White House said after the two leaders cut short their discussions. (Photo by Saul LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
HANOI, VIETNAM - FEBRUARY 28: Local newspaper front pages show the news about the summit between U.S President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on February 28, 2019 in Hanoi, Vietnam. U.S President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met on Wednesday and Thursday during their second summit as discussions continue in Hanoi on the possible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says he wouldn't be holding a second summit with President Donald Trump if he weren't willing to make good on his denuclearization pledge. (Photo by Linh Pham/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference following the DPRK-USA Hanoi Summit in Hanoi, on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. Trumps second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un collapsed without an agreement between the two leaders, plunging future talks on North Korea's nuclear program into question. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Two Vietnamese policewomen rest near the Melia hotel following the second US-North Korea summit in Hanoi on February 28, 2019. - The nuclear summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in Hanoi ended without an agreement on February 28, the White House said after the two leaders cut short their discussions. (Photo by Ye Aung THU / AFP) (Photo credit should read YE AUNG THU/AFP/Getty Images)
HANOI, VIETNAM - FEBRUARY 28: Media members work at the International Media Center during the DPRK-USA Hanoi Summit on February 28, 2019 in Hanoi, Vietnam. U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi for their second summit on Thursday. (Photo by Fu Tian/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images)
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (C) speaks during a bilateral meeting with US President Donald Trump (not pictured) at the second US-North Korea summit at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi on February 28, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un listens during a bilateral meeting with US President Donald Trump (not pictured) at the second US-North Korea summit at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi on February 28, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
People walk past a screen in Tokyo on February 28, 2019 showing US President Donald Trump speaking during a press conference following the second US-North Korea summit in Hanoi. (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP) (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)
HANOI, VIETNAM - FEBRUARY 28: The car carrying U.S President Donald Trump is seen leaving the summit on February 28, 2019 in Hanoi, Vietnam. U.S President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met on Wednesday and Thursday during their second summit as discussions continue in Hanoi. According to White House after the summit: 'No agreement was reached' between Trump and Kim at Vietnam summit, meetings to continue in the future. (Photo by Linh Pham/Getty Images)
A motorcyclist rides past a Vietnamese soldier standing between armoured personel carriers during the second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi on February 28, 2019. (Photo by NOEL CELIS / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump speaks during a dinner with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Hanoi. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Hanoi. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Hanoi. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Hanoi. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Hanoi. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
A motorcade, transporting US President Donald Trump, leaves the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel following the second US-North Korea summit in Hanoi on February 28, 2019. (Photo by Nhac NGUYEN / AFP) (Photo credit should read NHAC NGUYEN/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Hanoi. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
U.S. President Donald Trump and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc wave flags before a meeting at the Office of Government Hall, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Hanoi. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump meets Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong at the Presidential Palace, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Hanoi. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
South Korean protesters hold a banner showing a photo of U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a rally near the U.S. embassy in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The second summit between U.S President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will take place in Hanoi on Feb. 27 and 28. The letters read "Peace Agreement between U.S. and North Korea" and "Withdrawal of U.S. troops." (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
President Donald Trump and Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong watch as VietJet President Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, right, and Kevin McAllister, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, left, sign a business agreement at the Presidential Palace, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Hanoi. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
A Grab motorcycle deliveryman checks his phone in front of shops selling paintings and t-shirts of U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. Trump hoped for "great things" from his second meeting with Kim as he paid a courtesy call on his Vietnamese hosts ahead of the summit in the Vietnamese capital. (AP Photo/Adam Schreck)
President Donald Trump stand as he meets Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong at the Presidential Palace, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Hanoi. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
A motorcyclist rides past a Vietnamese soldier standing next to an armoured vehicle during the second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi on February 28, 2019. (Photo by NOEL CELIS / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump poses for a photo as he meets Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong at the Presidential Palace, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Hanoi. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
A man walks past a TV screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and U.S. President Donald Trump in a news program in Tokyo, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. Kim is expected to meet with Trump for a second summit over the next two days in Hanoi, Vietnam. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
A police officer secures boundary tape on a pole near the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Hanoi late Tuesday for a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Trump plans to meet Vietnam's leaders and sign commercial deals today before meeting Kim in the evening. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US President Donald Trump (L) waves to his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Phu Trong (not pictured) after their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi on February 27, 2019, ahead of the second US-North Korea summit. (Photo by LUONG THAI LINH / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read LUONG THAI LINH/AFP/Getty Images)
A vendor (C) waits for customers while displaying T-shirts with pictures of US President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi on February 27, 2019, ahead of the second US-North Korea summit. (Photo by Ye Aung THU / AFP) (Photo credit should read YE AUNG THU/AFP/Getty Images)
HANOI, VIETNAM - FEBRUARY 27: U.S. President Donald Trump's motorcade runs en route to the Presidential Palace of Vietnam ahead of the DPRK-USA summit on February 27, 2019 in Hanoi, Vietnam. U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are scheduled to meet on February 27-28 in Hanoi for their second summit. (Photo by Fu Tian/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images)
HANOI, VIETNAM - FEBRUARY 26: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT - 'Handout / White House / Shealah Craighead' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at the Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam on February 26, 2019. (Photo by Handout / White House / Shealah Craighead/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
HANOI, VIETNAM - FEBRUARY 26: U.S. President Donald Trump disembarks from Air Force One after arriving at Noi Bai International Airport on February 26, 2019 in Hanoi, Vietnam. U.S President Donald Trump arrived in Vietnam on Tuesday as preparations continue in Hanoi for the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi later this week. Both leaders are scheduled to have a private dinner and meeting on Wednesday as reports indicate they are expected to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and end international sanctions against Pyongyang. (Photo by Tuan Mark/Getty Images)
HANOI, Feb. 26, 2019 -- U.S. President Donald Trump disembarks from Air Force One in Hanoi, Vietnam, Feb. 26, 2019. U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Vietnam's capital Hanoi on Tuesday night to meet with Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. (Xinhua/Wang Shen) (Xinhua/ via Getty Images)
HANOI, VIETNAM - FEBRUARY 26: U.S. President Donald Trump disembarks from Air Force One after arriving at Noi Bai International Airport on February 26, 2019 in Hanoi, Vietnam. U.S President Donald Trump arrived in Vietnam on Tuesday as preparations continue in Hanoi for the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi later this week. Both leaders are scheduled to have a private dinner and meeting on Wednesday as reports indicate they are expected to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and end international sanctions against Pyongyang. (Photo by Tuan Mark/Getty Images)
The train which transported North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un to Vietnam leaves Dong Dang railway station, Vietnam, at the border with China, February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
A train believed to be carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong Un leaves from a train station in the Chinese border city of Dandong, China in this photo taken by Kyodo on February 23, 2019. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN.
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (C) speaks during a bilateral meeting with US President Donald Trump (not pictured) at the second US-North Korea summit at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi on February 28, 2019. (Photo by Saul LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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South Korea's JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported on Wednesday that the country's spy service gave such an assessment on the North's Tongchang-ri launch site to politicians in a private briefing on Tuesday.

An article from 38 North, a website specialising in North Korea studies, cited commercial satellite imagery as indicating that efforts to rebuild some structures at the site started sometime between February 16 and March 2.

Dismantling parts of its long-range rocket launch facility in the north-west was among several steps the North took last year when it entered talks with the United States and South Korea.

The site is where North Korea carried out satellite launches in recent years, inviting rounds of sanctions from the UN that saw it as a disguised test of missile technology.

JoongAng Ilbo cited unidentified politicians who attended the briefing as saying that National Intelligence Service director Suh Hoon told them that the structures being restored at the launch site include roofs and doors of buildings.

Mr Suh was quoted as saying that the move is seen as a preparation to restart long-range missile test-launches in the event that nuclear diplomacy completely collapses or to add some structures to blow up the launch site more dramatically in a show of denuclearisation commitment when US inspectors visit if negotiations with Washington go well.

The offices of South Korean politicians who took part in Tuesday's briefing could not immediately confirm the newspaper report.

The 38 North report said the rail-mounted transfer building is being reassembled at the launch site.

It said two support cranes can be seen at the building, and walls have been erected and a new roof added.

At the engine test stand, the website said it appears that the engine support structure is being reassembled.

It said new roofs have been installed on the fuel and oxidiser buildings.

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