Report of North Korea's 'undisclosed' missile bases not new: Seoul

Frederick Owens
November 15, 2018

President Donald Trump said yesterday that the United States was aware of undeclared North Korean missile bases revealed by U.S. researchers but insisted all was fine. "I will be the first to let you know if things go bad!" the president tweeted.

Presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said continued activity at North Korean missile sites only underlines the need for nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang to proceed at a faster pace.

The New York Times, citing a study by the USA -based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), focused on one unregistered missile base in North Hwanghae Province and accused North Korea of "great deception".

If any country should be anxious about Kim Jong Un's nuclear weapons, it's South Korea, technically still at war with North Korea and with tens of millions of people in easy range of its arsenal.

The authors say the sites, which can be used for all classes of ballistic missiles, should be declared by North Korea and inspected in any credible, verifiable deal that addresses Pyongyang's most significant threats to the United States and its allies. A U.S. State Department spokesperson made it clear that the North's leader should follow through on his commitments, including complete denuclearization and the elimination of his ballistic missile program.

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 denuclearisation efforts and prepare for a possible second summit, according to the State Department. They aren't launch sites, but construction facilities for missiles of various designs.

Located 135 kilometers north of the South Korean capital of Seoul, it can reach the city in a short period of time, it said.

In reports released by the Washington, D.C. -based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), researchers said maintenance and minor infrastructure improvements had been observed at some of the sites despite the negotiations.

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Before we set off too many alarm bells here, it's worth noting that none of these are new nuclear sites that the North Koreans have been working on during the negotiations.

Intercontinental ballistic missiles are driven past the stand with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other high ranking officials during a military parade in Pyongyang on April 15, 2017.

After the Singapore summit, Mr. Trump said he had achieved a major breakthrough with North Korea and that lasting denuclearization was on the horizon.

Sakkanmol, the site closest to the border with South Korea and its capital, Seoul, appears to be "active and being reasonably well maintained", the report found.

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.

"I continue to believe that Pyongyang does not intend to give up its nuclear weapons capability", said Revere.

Others say the pressure is now on the Kim regime and that a failure to produce real results will prove only that the regime was never serious.

Pyongyang has asked for "phased and synchronised measures" for denuclearisation, meaning the worldwide community would slowly relax or drop sanctions with each step in the denuclearisation process, rather than waiting until its completion.

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