North Korea missile base 'active,' USA analysts say

North Korea missile base 'active,' USA analysts say”

United States analysts say they have located more than half of an estimated 20 secret North Korean missile-development sites, highlighting the challenge the Trump administration faces in ensuring North Korea complies with any eventual agreement to end its nuclear and missile programs.

Newly-released commercial satellite imagery suggests North Korea is continuing to develop ballistic missile sites at more than a dozen locations, amid stalled discussions over the country's nuclear weapons program between North Korea and American diplomats.

Last week, North Korea called off a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in NY, and state media said on Monday the resumption of some small-scale military drills by South Korea and the United States violated a recent agreement aimed at lowering tensions on the Korean peninsula.

North Korea detonated the command post facilities of its nuclear test site in Punggye-ri, North Korea.

The biggest combat-readiness war game ever staged in and around Japan also went ahead last week, with the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan joining Japanese destroyers and a Canadian warship in the ocean off Japan - another key player in the effort to pressure North Korea. In June, the group 38 North reported that satellite images showed improvements to infrastructure at North Korean nuclear test sites.

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.

But the meetings were supposed to dig in on how to follow through on commitments made during Pompeo's last visit to Pyongyang in early October, including North Korea allowing global inspectors into the country to confirm the dismantlement of a nuclear test site and a missile engine test site.

During a press conference after the historic summit with Kim on June 12, Trump said he will suspend "war games" with South Korea as long as North Korea engages in denuclearization talks in a honest manner as they are "tremendously expensive" and "provocative".

North Korea are still operating undeclared missile bases and even improving some of their missile sites instead of shutting them down.

Photo An overview of the Sakkanmol Missile Operating Base and adjacent unidentified military facility.

Cha had been in line for appointment as U.S. ambassador to South Korea, but was dropped because of disagreement with the Trump administration's approach.

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.

But on Thursday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said North Korea postponed the meeting "because they weren't ready".

The United States and South Korea have said the drills are defensive in nature.

One of the destinations would be the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, where North Korean officials invited journalists to watch a partial demolition in September.

"What North Korea has offered is the beginning of a process that might - might - someday lead to an outcome like that".

And, ironically, according to the Times, the sanctions that Trump touts are harming North Korea because Pyongyang has resumed trade with Russian Federation and China based largely on its better ties with the US and its stated commitment to eventual denuclearization.

"We are in no rush", Trump said Wednesday.

The findings come amid a stalemate in denuclearization talks between the US and North Korea.

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