Sunday, 21 October, 2018

North Korea said to be dismantling key parts of launch site

Source N. Korea seeking 'bold move' from US Satellite images show North Korea has begun dismantling key test site
Cristina Norman | 24 July, 2018, 21:11

North Korea has taken "an important first step" toward fulfilling a promise made during its summit with the United States by starting to dismantle a key missile-testing site, a monitoring website said Monday.

The dismantling of such a site does not necessarily mean that short-range targets such as South Korea and Japan are safe from launches, or that North Korea may not possess other secret sites to launch missiles from.

Trump said after the June summit that Kim had pledged to dismantle one of his missile installations, which would be North Korea's most concrete concession to emerge from the Singapore meeting.

New commercial satellite imagery of the Sohae station indicates that the North has begun dismantling key facilities, the 38 North said in a report.

Lee Choon Geun, a missile expert at South Korea's Science and Technology Policy Institute, said the North's supposed move to dismantle the rail-mounted processing building was the more meaningful development as it potentially indicated to broader dismantlement activities at the site.

The July 22 photo shows visible progress made in the dismantlement.

"A Rocket has not been launched by North Korea in 9 months", Trump wrote in a morning tweet.

Though the site was meant to put satellites into orbit, U.S. officials claimed satellite launches effectively missile tests. The launch in February 2016 was particularly contentious because Pyongyang had conducted a nuclear test just a month earlier. "As we have stated before, we are committed to building a peace mechanism with the goal of replacing the armistice agreement when North Korea has denuclearized".

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

US officials have repeatedly said North Korea has committed to giving up a nuclear weapons program that now threatens the United States, but Pyongyang has offered no details as to how it might go about this.

The possibility of a permanent peace mechanism to finally end the war was included in both the Panmunjom Declaration signed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in the inter-Korean summit and the agreement signed by Kim and President Donald Trump in Singapore. 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 rare show of discrepancy between the allies came at an unusually sensitive time between the South and North, after North Korean media excruciated South Korean authorities for what it said was kowtowing to the USA on inter-Korean issues.

A South Korean delegation that traveled to NY over the past weekend said Seoul needed to be exempted from some worldwide sanctions against the North to implement the Panmunjom Declaration.

The nearby Vertical Engine Test Stand also shows signs of work taking place.

"I want to hear from the secretary how and if this action by North Korea is integrated into a cogent and coherent diplomatic framework that gets us to complete and verifiable dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear and missile programs", he told CNN.

The North has in the past two years quickly advanced its nuclear programme, and claims that it has developed an intercontinental ballistic missile that is able to reach as far as the continental US.

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