North Korea 'hiding missile bases', say U.S. researchers

Remigio Civitarese
Novembre 14, 2018

South Korea's presidential office said that South Korea and the United States have been aware of the North Korean missile base, which a USA think tank revealed and claimed to be active based on commercial satellite images.

"The dispersed deployment of these bases and distinctive tactics employed by ballistic missile units are combined with decades of extensive camouflage, concealment and deception practices to maximise the survival of its missile units from pre-emptive strikes and during wartime operations", it said.

Trump has declared himself "in love" with Kim after a first-ever summit between the two nations' leaders held in June in Singapore.

The South's presidential office said intelligence authorities in Seoul and Washington had already been aware of the information in the report and added the Sakkanmol base had "nothing to do with inter-continental ballistic missiles".

Possible trouble on the Korean peninsula and concern overseas as new images reveal North Korea is continuing to develop nuclear missiles. 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.

Geist remarked on how Trump likes to say that his administration is making great progress in resolving the North Korea issue, but the way Brennan sees it, "the only thing that has changed over the past year is the escalatory rhetoric".

"We are in no rush", Trump told reporters last Wednesday.

But the South Korean government and analysts played down the report, saying that the facilities had been known about for years and Pyongyang had never offered to give them up.

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

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.

US officials have discussed possible clandestine enrichment sites for nuclear fuel, and in July, analysts at CNS used commercial satellite imagery to conclude that North Korea was "completing a major expansion of an important factory for producing solid rocket motors for ... nuclear-armed missiles". "We have been watching this site and there has been nothing new from this", said Kim Eui-kyeom, a presidential spokesman said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

In a separate report released this week, CSIS said: "After extensive research, including interviews with North Korean defectors and government, defence and intelligence officials around the world, many of these issues have been addressed and it appears that the KPA now has approximately 15-20 missile operating bases".

The facilities identified in the new report are located in strategic locations that would put missiles in range of South Korea and Japan, according to the report.

While US sanctions on North Korea remain in place, enforcement by traditional trading partners China and Russian Federation has relaxed since the summit, US officials have acknowledged.

Experts said the undeclared sites had always been known to USA intelligence agencies but had never been publicly acknowledged by Mr Trump who asserted North Korea was "no longer a nuclear threat" following the June summit.

The issue was also raised to the South Korean government.

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