Despite Denuclearization Pledge, North Korea Reportedly Building More ICBMs
31 July, 2018, 23:16 | Author: Ted Wilson
USA spy agencies have recently seen satellite photo evidence that North Korea is building at least two intercontinental ballistic missiles at the factory where it created its first missile that it said could reach the United States.
An official told Reuters news agency that photos and infrared imaging indicates vehicles are moving in and out of the Sanumdong facility, but that it is unclear how far along the missile construction could be.
Last week, it appeared North Korea had begun dismantling part of a key rocket launch site, but according to recent reports based on USA intelligence leaks, Pyongyang might still secretly be continuing its nuclear weapons programme. After the president met with Pyongyang's leader Kim Jong-un in a high-profile summit, Trump declared on Twitter, "There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea".
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will urge Asian countries at an upcoming meeting in Singapore to enforce United Nations sanctions on North Korea aimed at dismantling Pyongyang's nuclear programme, a US official said on Tuesday (Jul 31).
Satellite imagery of the Sanumdong facility shows that the site is "active", Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) told the Washington Post.
"New images just today show that North Korea has begun the process of dismantling a key missile site, and we appreciate that", Trump said, an apparent reference to images of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station published Monday by the prominent monitoring group 38 North.
"We see them going to work, just as before", a United States official told the newspaper. Their strategy includes potentially asserting that they have fully denuclearized by declaring and disposing of 20 warheads while retaining dozens more.
The newspaper cites officials familiar with the intelligence, who say North Korea is working on "one and possibly two liquid-fueled ICBMs at a large research facility in Sanumdong", the same facility where the communist country previously built intercontinental ballistic missiles.
"Some of the cringe-worthy Kim Jong-il paintings I saw in North Korea, not unlike the adulatory Trump propaganda portraits I've seen circulating lately", he explains.
A U.S. official who spoke to Reuters said one photo showed a truck and a covered trailer similar to those used to move previous North Korean ICBMs.
North Korea has carried out a total of six nuclear tests, the most recent of which took place in September a year ago.
Pompeo, at the Senate hearing last week, sought to assure lawmakers that the disarmament talks with North Korea remained on track and that the effort to dismantle the country's nuclear arsenal was just getting underway. "They are negotiating for recognition of their nuclear weapons".
South Korea's TV Chosun reported Tuesday Seoul's joint chiefs of staff are "closely monitoring the situation".
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