North Korea Is Actually Dismantling a Key Nuclear Test Site - Leah Barkoukis

Larry Hoffman
July 25, 2018

The pictures provide evidence that the North Korean regime is committed to the denuclearization pact that its leader, Kim Jong Un, made last month during his meeting with President Donald Trump.

South Korean officials have also said they detected dismantlement activities at the site, though didn't specify the exact nature of the activities.

"We see it as a good sign and as part of the step-by-step process toward denuclearization", Nam Gwan-pyo, deputy director of the National Security Office, told reporters.

Asked about the analysis, the U.S. State Department declined to comment.

Kim vowed to switch the focus from the development of North Korea's nuclear arsenal to emulating China's 'socialist economic construction' before he held an unprecedented summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore in June.

But the deal was criticised for a lack of details on when or how Pyongyang would renounce its nuclear weapons. The North has sent mixed signals on its readiness to give up its nuclear programs, and Mr. Trump's critics say there is still no firm outline of the steps North Korea is willing to take. Those moves were widely seen symbolic gestures ahead of the Singapore summit.

Dr Narang says in some ways, that is consistent with North Korea's stance.

"This was done unilaterally", Town said.

Stable fuel and rice prices suggest no immediate signs of major suffering in North Korea despite South Korea's recent estimates the impoverished state's economy contracted at its sharpest rate in two decades previous year.

However, the main processing building, gantry tower, and fuel tanks remained untouched, the images showed.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the imagery was "entirely consistent" with commitments Kim made to Trump during their summit in Singapore.

A rocket launch from Sohae space centre in 2016, shown on North Korean TV. "Likewise, no Nuclear Tests. Japan is happy, all of Asia is happy", he said. But the Fake News is saying, without ever asking me (always anonymous sources), that I am angry because it is not going fast enough.

A TV screen shows a satellite image of North Korea's Sohae launch site during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul South Kore Tuesday
Report says images indicate North Korea dismantling test site facilities

But US officials suspect that it has been used to test ballistic missiles.

News of the North's action at the test facility comes days after reports that Trump had become frustrated with progress on the issue.

The 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, leaving the two Koreas technically at war.

The advisory note issued on Monday night urged the worldwide community to stay aligned with the current United Nations sanctions regime, with the State Department saying: "The global community can not let up on pressure until the DPRK denuclearizes".

A new book speculates about how war could begin again on the Korean peninsula.

During that time, Trump repeatedly stressed that he believed North Korea would follow through based on his personal read of Kim's personality.

It is a work of fiction that portrays what could happen if current diplomatic efforts to end the North Korean nuclear threat fail, and the USA resumes its maximum pressure campaign.

"If North Korea goes further and dismantle the entire Sohae site, that would meaningfully reduce the country's long-range missile capability by eliminating a facility where it could fire multiple ICBMs in succession", Lee said. "There has to be a fundamental change in the political relationship to really get down that road".

According to the commander of USA forces on the Korean peninsula, the challenge with North Korea is making progress despite a lack of trust on both sides. It's hard to put exact numbers on those but it (export bans) crashed industrial production,' Shin said.

More than 35,000 Americans were killed on the Korean peninsula during the war, with 7,700 of these U.S. troops still listed as missing in action - a lot of them in North Korea. In December 2012, the North launched a rocket, ostensibly called a space launch vehicle, from the site that overflew Okinawa and crashed in the ocean some 300 km off the Philippines.

"They've removed the super-structure on the static engine test site, but they've kept the concrete, as far as we know", he said.

"My assessment is that there was a greater inflow (of fuel supplies) from overseas, especially China since Kim's trips there", said Kang Mi-jin, who works at Daily NK and speaks regularly to sources inside North Korea.

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