North Korea begins dismantling nuclear and ballistic missile facilities

24 July, 2018, 21:12 | Author: Shannon Aguilar
  • Source N. Korea seeking 'bold move' from US

The apparent dismantling of the Sohae test site comes amid rising questions over North Korea's willingness to stick to the pledges made at the 12 June summit.

Bermudez said the satellite images indicate that Pyongyang took "an important first step toward fulfilling a commitment made by Kim Jong-un".

The website said imagery indicated the North had begun taking down a processing building and a rocket-engine test stand that had been used to test liquid-fuel engines at its Sohae Satellite Launching Station.

"Since these facilities are believed to have played an important role in the development of technologies for the North's intercontinental ballistic missile program, these efforts represent a significant confidence building measure on the part of North Korea", analyst Joseph Bermudez wrote in the 38 North report.

The dismantling work probably began sometime within the last two weeks, he said. North Korea has been dismantling a number of sites around the country related to their nuclear program.

Brooks said the challenge now is to continue to make progress with North Korea, and said that the level of diplomacy is high with abundant channels of communication now open on the Korean peninsula.

Adam Mount, a senior defence analyst at the Federation of American Scientists, said it's also troubling that the North has been apparently allowed to duck verification by unilaterally dismantling parts of its nuclear and missile facilities without the presence of global inspectors.

SOHAE SATELLITE LAUNCH PAD NORTH KOREA- JULY 20 2018 Figure 1. By July 20 dismantlement had begun of the rail-mounted transfer structure on the Sohae launch pad. Mandatory credit for all images DigitalGlobe/38 North via Getty Images

SEOUL (Reuters) - When North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed in June to help return the remains of American troops killed in the 1950-53 Korean War, it was seen as one of the more attainable goals to come out of his summit with U.S. President Donald Trump. The launch in February 2016 was particularly contentious because Pyongyang had conducted a nuclear test just a month earlier.

Decades-old remains that North Korea has handed over in the past have not always been identifiable as USA troops. But the Fake News is saying, without ever asking me (always anonymous sources), that I am angry because it is not going fast enough.

The AP reports that North Korea's state-run media has also "toned down" its attacks on the USA and South Korea in recent days, although such attacks on Japan - which has taken a harder line on Pyongyang - have increased over the same period.

Separately on Tuesday, South Korea's Defence Ministry said it was planning "a test reduction of some guard post troops and equipment" along the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that divides North and South Korea.

Instead, Schoff suggested the USA could reciprocate by working with Seoul, Beijing, Tokyo and Moscow to approve some economic engagement exemptions for South Korea to work with the North in certain special economic zones.

On Monday, the U.S. State, Treasury and Homeland Security departments said, "The worldwide community can not let up on pressure" until North Korea ends its nuclear weapons program.

The test site has been paramount to North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile and space programs.

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