North Korea hiding missile bases, USA researchers say

North Korea: World War 3 fears increase as satellites reveal nuclear weapons bases | Daily Star

The base, located in mountainous terrain, contains a unit equipped with short-range ballistic missiles, the report said, and could house medium-range ones. Presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said continued activity at North Korean missile sites only underlines the need for nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang to proceed at a faster pace.

Geist remarked on how Trump likes to say that his administration is making great progress in resolving the North Korea issue, but the way Brennan sees it, "the only thing that has changed over the previous year is the escalatory rhetoric".

"In the 2018 New Year address, Kim Jong Un called for shifting to full-scale production and deployment of nuclear weapons and missiles", said Joshua Pollack, a senior research associate at the United States-based James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS).

North Korea declared its nuclear force "complete" and halted missile and nuclear bomb testing earlier this year but USA and South Korean negotiators have yet to elicit from Pyongyang a concrete declaration of the size or scope of the weapons programs, or a promise to stop deploying its existing arsenal.

Trump has faced criticism that his approach to North Korea is allowing Kim to continue building his nuclear missile capability.

Just as the United States has increased its sanctions on Pyongyang, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has not retreated from his pledge to expand his operational force of nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles, increasing his leverage under any denuclearization deal.

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

While the State Department did not explicitly say whether they viewed the bases as a violation of any agreements with the US, they simply reiterated the promise North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made during his summit with President Donald Trump - to denuclearize and end Pyeongyang's missile programs.

US officials have said sanctions forced North Korea to the negotiating table and vowed to keep pressure until complete denuclearization.

Photos by Beyond Parallel/CSIS show possible missile operating bases in North Korea. "It has never signed any agreement, any negotiation that makes shutting down missile bases mandatory".

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

The report identified about 15 to 20 bases being operated by the Korean People's Army's Strategic Force, based on information from officials in the government, defense and intelligence agencies and North Korean defectors. They noted that Kim had not agreed to halt either nuclear weapons or missile development in negotiations with Trump or Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The existence of the bases - which presumably would have to be declared and then dismantled under the US goal of North Korean "denuclearization" - suggests that Pyongyang's previous efforts to dismantle known missile launch sites or nuclear facilities had little impact on its nuclear program.

The Trump administration abandoned Victor Cha as its pick for the South Korean ambassador's post because Cha disagreed with the "bloody nose" preventive strike strategy proposed by some in the administration as a way to achieve the president's goal of removing nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula, according to analysts interviewed by the South China Morning Post at the time.

Trump, however, told a news conference last week that he was in "no rush" on North Korea after a senior delegation abruptly canceled a meeting planned with Pompeo in NY.

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