Newly revealed North Korean missile bases cast doubt on value of summit

Newly revealed North Korean missile bases cast doubt on value of summit

They suggest Pyongyang is continuing its missile work, even though it has halted test launches in what President Donald Trump and his Government have claimed as a success since his historic June meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore.

The secret missile bases have been identified in commercial satellite images and published Monday in a study by the Beyond Parallel program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Fox News notes that the report comes as denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea have stalled-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's planned meeting with his North Korean counterpart last week was delayed indefinitely.

North Korea dramatically improved its missile technology with provocative test launches past year.

Trump said on Twitter shortly after that summit "there is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea".

The analysts looked specifically at the Sakkanmol Missile Operating Base, located only 135km from Seoul. Yoon Young-chan, Moon's top press secretary, said two tons of North Korean songi mushrooms arrived in South Korea earlier in the day, well before Moon returned from the North after his three-day trip there.

President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

An official with South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff also told reporters that Seoul is "familiar" with the sites identified in the report but declined to confirm whether intelligence had indicated any recent changes at the bases.

The Times said the Pentagon had planned to begin deploying a new generation of small, low-cost satellites to track North Korea's mobile missiles, but the program has been held up by bureaucratic and budget disputes.

The administration has said it is hopeful about eventually reaching an agreement with North Korea.

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One of the sites in question is the Sakkanmol Missile Operating Base, which sits about 85 miles from the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea.

Though the bases are not considered traditional launch facilities, missiles can be launched from the locations in an emergency, the report stated.

Indeed, it appears to be adding to its stockpile: U.S. intelligence reports from the northern summer found that North Korea had begun producing new missiles at a factory, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged during Senate testimony that Pyongyang "continues to produce fissile material".

But North Korea has stepped up its demands for an easing of USA sanctions and the State Department, without offering a reason, said late Tuesday that Pompeo's meeting was off. In August, the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency said it had reason to believe that North Korea was still developing nuclear weapons.

Trump played down the delay in Pompeo's meeting with Kim Yong Chol, a right-hand man of North Korea's leader, and said it was a scheduling issue.

It came amid lingering doubts about whether the North will submit a full list of its nuclear and missile programs and engage in serious denuclearization talks in spite of Trump's all optimistic statements, including the talk of his good relationship with Kim.

"Tangerines were chosen because they are in season at the moment, and it is a kind of fruit that is rare in North Korea", Kim said, adding that the office hoped as many North Korean people as possible can taste them.

"But I will say this, I will say this very simply - We are in no rush, the sanctions are on", he said.

"We made more progress in that four or five months (since the summit) than they have made in 70 years", he said, referring to previous USA leaders.

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