North Korea Is Running at Least 13 Hidden Missile Bases
North Korea Is Running at Least 13 Hidden Missile Bases
South Korea Gifts 200 Tons of Tangerines to Pyongyang in Return for Mushrooms
13 November, 2018, 10:47
Today, a new report from a Washington think-tank identified more than a dozen hidden bases in North Korea that could be used to disperse mobile launchers for ballistic missiles in the event of a conflict.
The report concluded: "North Korea's decommissioning of the Sohae Satellite launch facility, whilst gaining much media attention, obscures the military threat to United States forces and South Korea from other undeclared ballistic missile bases".
The new satellite images come at a pivotal moment for nuclear talks, days after North Korea canceled the latest meeting between Pompeo and his North Korean counterpart Kim Yong Chol.
North Korea dramatically improved its missile technology with provocative test launches a year ago.
Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed on a broad plan to ease tensions along the border during their third summit in Pyongyang in September.
"The base can be functionally divided into four activities - agricultural support [including numerous greenhouses dispersed throughout the facility], main base [including headquarters, barracks, missile support, vehicle maintenance, storage, and a variety of small support elements], and underground and missile support facilities", the analysts said.
The quiet continual operation of Sakkanmol and other sites flies in the face of what the Trump administration says is a pledge by North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program.
The US State Department commented on the issue, saying: "Should Chairman Kim follow through on his commitments, including complete denuclearisation and the elimination of ballistic missile programs, a much brighter future lies ahead for North Korea and its people".
The CSIS report comes after analysts writing for 38 North reported "minor cleanup activity" at North Korea's Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, which was detonated earlier this year before an worldwide press corps.
On Monday, state controlled media said that small-scale military drills by a few hundred U.S. marines and South Korean forces represented a violation of a summit agreement between Kim and the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in.
The Trump administration has touched on the possibility of resuming the two major spring exercises with South Korea known as Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, the sources said.
"North Korea's decommissioning of the Sohae satellite launch facility, while gaining much media attention, obscures the military threat to USA forces and South Korea from this and other undeclared ballistic missile bases", it said.
Though the bases are not considered traditional launch facilities, missiles can be launched from the locations in an emergency, the report stated.
But North Korea has stepped up its demands for an easing of U.S. sanctions and the State Department, without offering a reason, said late Tuesday that Pompeo's meeting was off. Now it's North Korea's turn.
"But I will say this, I will say this very simply - We are in no rush, the sanctions are on", he said.
Analysts have long believed that North Korea had undeclared or hidden facilities in their missile programme, which has made issues related to verification and inspections a major part of working level talks between the U.S. and North Korea.
Trump has said he hopes to meet again soon with Kim, but there are signs of growing friction in the negotiations with North Korean officials, which appear to have stalled.
Kim Hyo-sun tells us more. "I have talked with the administration and basically what we're looking at is they postponed it because they weren't ready".
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