Recently updated imagery from Google Earth has revealed further changes made to airfields in the area of Wonsan on North Korea’s east coast.
The imagery, dated November 17 and December 25, shows that further improvements have been made to the small airstrip at Songdowon for use by Kim Jong Un and to Wonsan Air Base, both in Wonsan, Kangwon Province. There have also been changes made at Kangda-ri Airfield, also in the Wonsan area.
The small airstrip at Songdowon, immediately west of Songdowon Railway Station and first discovered in January by Curtis Melvin, is now fully paved and marked. Among the markings are runway name numbers, 16 and 34, which indicate the two directions of the runway, 160° and 340°, respectively.
There is also a new small building connected to the airstrip by a paved pathway. Additionally, the roads leading to the airfield have been partially repaved. This airfield is believed to have been built for use by Kim Jong Un so that he can fly into the area on small aircraft and travel directly to the Kim family compound nearby.
Also undergoing continued construction is the Wonsan air base. This air base has been undergoing renovation and expansion since last summer, likely to convert it from a primarily military-use airfield into an international airport to support a hoped for increase in tourism and economic activity in the region. Numerous buildings have been completed and others are still under construction.
More paving of the runways and aprons has been done and what is probably a new, larger runway is still under construction on the east side of the airport. Vehicles and construction equipment are visible around the airfield and no aircraft are visible anywhere.
At Kangda-ri Airfield, about 10 kilometers southwest of Wonsan air base, the northwest runway appears to have been converted into farmland. The southeast runway – the middle portion of which is underground through mountains – remains intact. No aircraft were visible here either. It is unclear where the aircraft from the fighter squadron at Wonsan have been relocated to.
The changes at the Wonsan airport and the Songdowon airfield in particular reflect the North Korean regime’s increased focus on the region around Wonsan and efforts to increase economic activity and tourism in the area. Among the numerous projects in the area is the Masikryong Ski Resort.
Featured image: Google Earth
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