Published: Wed, November 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

U.S. analysts locate secret North Korean missile sites

U.S. analysts locate secret North Korean missile sites

Just weeks after a high-stakes summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Pyongyang appeared to be developing at least one or two liquid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missiles, the Post said, citing officials familiar with the intelligence.

The Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) thinktank in Washington however has published satellite photographs of a short-range ballistic missile operating base near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) capable of accommodating medium-range missiles and threatening USA forces in the region.

The CIA declined to comment on the images, but U.S. officials have expressed concern about North Korea using hidden and undeclared locations to continue to work on improving their missile technology and possibly their nuclear program.

He specifically criticized any suggestion that the bases constituted a "deception" by the North Koreans, or that there was any agreement that required Pyongyang to declare the existence of the bases.

The sense of skepticism is expected to increase, as Democrats who took over the House of Representatives are ratcheting up their criticism of Trump's approach toward North Korea and his idea of holding a second summit with Kim.

The Trump administration has touched on the possibility of resuming the two major spring exercises with South Korea known as Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, the sources said.

CSIS said that while these were operating bases and not launch sites, they could be used as launch sites if necessary.

South Korea's presidential office on Tuesday played down a new report on North Korea's "undisclosed" missile sites, saying the state intelligence communities of South Korea and the United States earlier acquired relevant information. They noted that Kim had not agreed to halt either nuclear weapons or missile development in negotiations with Trump or Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Trump used the agreement to promote himself as a peacemaker ahead of the U.S. mid-term elections earlier this month, pointing to the absence of nuclear and missile testing over the past year.

"Missile operating bases are not launch facilities", Bermudez wrote.

Al Jazeera's Rosiland Jordan, reporting from Washington, DC, said U.S. intelligence "has always been aware North Korea has not dialled back its efforts to expand its nuclear or conventional missile programme".

Photo An unidentified military facility next to the Sakkanmol missile base.

Furthermore, North Korea has repeatedly rejected U.S. requests for a detailed and accurate disclosure of the country's nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities.

The images suggest North Korea has not dramatically stepped down its ballistic missile development, despite the highly publicised deconstruction of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in July.

Medium-range missiles capable of striking Japan and all of South Korea reportedly are deployed in an operational belt 55 to 100 miles (90 to 150 kilometers) north of the demilitarized zone.

Within the Japanese government, many believe that North Korea will not completely abandon its nuclear ambitions if the United States does not exert strong pressure on Pyongyang.

The report was released less than a week after North Korea abruptly called off a new round of negotiations with Mr Pompeo that had been set for Thursday in NY.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends the joint press conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at Paekhwawon State Guesthouse on September 19, 2018 in Pyongyang, North Korea.

A North Korean missile base is active as of November and has stayed "well maintained" despite agreements from Pyongyang to denuclearize, according to USA analysts on Monday.

It even identified improvements being made to its Sakkanmol site, close to the border with South Korea.

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