Published: Wed, November 14, 2018

Trump says North Korean missile sites are 'nothing new'

Trump says North Korean missile sites are 'nothing new'

Monday's photos come just days after North Korea abruptly cancelled a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, where the leaders were expected to discuss allowing worldwide inspectors into the country to confirm Pyongyang has begun dismantling its nuclear and missile test sites.

'We fully know about the sites being discussed, nothing new - and nothing happening out of the normal, ' Trump, who is seeking a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, wrote on Twitter.

North Korea also took a step toward denuclearization when officials agreed to allow worldwide inspectors into its nuclear and missile sites - a step North Korea had repeatedly refused to take in the past.

In reports released by the Washington-based think tank Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), researchers said maintenance and minor infrastructure improvements had been observed at some of the sites.

This information is a setback for President Trump, who in recent months has boasted about the progress made after his summit with Kim in Singapore on June 12, which led, among other gestures, to the decommissioning of the Sohae missile base, in the northwest of the country in July. Although the sites are not launch facilities and in some cases are rudimentary, the authors of the report say they are hidden and illustrate the scope of the North's weapons program and the country's determination to hide its military might.

In May, Sky News' Asia correspondent Tom Cheshire was the only British broadcaster to watch a series of explosions at the facility ahead of talks between US President Donald Trump and Mr Kim.

Just more Fake News.

But a report based on satellite imagery shows the complexity posed by an extensive network of weapons facilities that the United States wants to neutralize.

South Korea also earlier played down the study, saying that the sites had been known for years.

While the State Department did not explicitly say whether they viewed the bases as a violation of any agreements with the USA, they simply reiterated the promise North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made during his summit with President Donald Trump - to denuclearize and end Pyeongyang's missile programs.

Some 50 to 90 kilometres (31 to 56 miles) from the demilitarised zone that has separated the two Koreas since 1953, "these bases are far enough forward to provide coverage of critical facilities in the northern two-thirds of South Korea, yet far enough from the DMZ to be beyond the range of South Korean and United States long-range artillery", the report said.

Vipin Narang of MIT tweeted: "Kim literally ordered ballistic missiles to be mass produced on New Year's Day 2018".

The bases are arranged in three belts across North Korea, according to the report, with those for strategic missiles deep inside the country.

He criticised suggestions 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.

"Chairman Kim has repeatedly expressed his strong will to denuclearise", South Korea's President Moon Jae-in said after meeting the North Korean leader in September, adding that the North Korean leader wanted to "focus on economic development" as soon as possible.

Beyond Parallel classifies the operational North Korean missile bases into three zones, or "belts", with the closest, where Sakkanmol is located, considered to be "tactical".

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had been scheduled to meet in NY last week Kim's right-hand man, Kim Yong Chol, to discuss denuclearization efforts and prepare for a possible second summit, according to the State Department.

Like this: