Saturday, 25 May, 2019

Trump says North Korean missile sites are 'nothing new'

North Korea: World War 3 fears increase as satellites reveal nuclear weapons bases | Daily Star US analysts locate secret North Korean missile sites
Patty Aguilar | 14 November, 2018, 12:00

U.S. President Donald Trump has weighed in on a report that North Korea has at least 13 undeclared bases capable of hiding missiles, calling the report "fake news".

"We fully know about the sites being discussed, nothing new - and nothing happening out of the normal", he wrote. "I will be the first to let you know if things go bad!"

"We can not have another summit with North Korea - not with President Trump, not with the secretary of state - unless and until the Kim regime takes concrete, tangible actions to halt and roll back its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs", Markey said in a statement Monday.

A report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies has identified 13 secret facilities used to produce missiles and related technology.

The CSIS report said that the short-range ballistic missile base is one of the 20 undeclared missile bases in North Korea.

But imagery of one of the sites identified by CSIS, located 84 miles (135km) northwest of Seoul, shows entrances to seven underground missile facilities and missile launchers hidden by camouflaged tarpaulin.

"Obviously, we're very well aware of what's going on in North Korea".

Beyond Parallel is led by Victor Cha, who was a candidate to become Washington's ambassador to South Korea, a position left open by US President Donald Trump more than a year into his term in the White House.

The report includes satellite photos that show that in recent months North Korea has carried out a number of improvements to a series of facilities that would "support a missile launch in an emergency".

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These are not launch sites, but rather mostly mountainous locations where missiles, warheads, launchers and personnel are stationed, ready to be deployed elsewhere in the event of an attack.

North Korea also took a step toward denuclearization when officials agreed to allow worldwide inspectors into its nuclear and missile sites - a step North Korea had repeatedly refused to take in the past.

In April, ahead of his meeting with Trump, Kim told a gathering of ruling party leadership the nuclear arsenal represented a "great victory" and announced there was no need for further tests of nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles.

"After extensive research, including interviews with North Korean defectors and government, defence and intelligence officials around the world, many of these issues have been addressed and it appears that the KPA (Korean People's Army) now has approximately 15-20 missile operating bases", CSIS said in another report on Monday. "I think Kim Jong-Un has really been masterful in terms of how he has duped Mr. Trump".

A spokesman for South Korean President Moon Jae-in described the CSIS report to reporters as "nothing new", adding that describing North Korea's missile activities as deceptive risked hindering diplomacy.

In past tweets, he's also said that the Iran nuclear threat is over. On Thursday, Russia called a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to take up its request for humanitarian exemptions to global sanctions on Pyongyang.

Less disputable is that North Korea could quickly assault South Korea, including its capital Seoul, and Japan in a crisis.

SEOUL-Analysts say North Korea still sees its nuclear arsenal as a key tool in securing its national safety and winning concessions from global rivals.

"As of November 2018, the base is active and being reasonably well-maintained by North Korean standards".

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