Spy agencies suspect North Korea building new missiles

Aaron Brown
August 2, 2018

Citing unnamed officials familiar with the intelligence, the USA daily said that newly obtained evidence, including satellite photos taken in recent weeks, suggests that North Koreans were working on at least one and possibly two liquid-fueled ICBMs at a large research facility in Sanumdong on the outskirts of Pyongyang.

The Trump administration has hailed the repatriation as a significant goodwill gesture even as efforts toward persuading the North to abandon its nuclear weapons have faltered.

At the recent United States-Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Summit, President Trump and Kim Jong Un signed the Sentosa Agreement, which included a commitment to recover remains from the DPRK and return them to the U.S., where they will be identified.

"We look forward to potentially pursuing [remains recovery] operations in North Korea in the future and we're very hopeful", said Rear Admiral Jon Kreitz, the deputy director of Hawaii's military laboratory.

Last week, it appeared North Korea had begun dismantling part of a key rocket launch site, but according to recent reports based on United States intelligence leaks, Pyongyang might still secretly be continuing its nuclear weapons programme.

"The remains received from North Korea are being handled with the utmost care and respect by professional historians, forensic scientists, uniformed personnel and government officials", the U.S. -led U.N. Command said in a statement.

At the Singapore summit in June, Kim agreed in a vaguely worded joint statement to "work toward" the "denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula. But since then, North Korea has made few tangible moves signaling an intention to disarm.

The Sanumdong factory produced two Hwasong-15 ICBMs, North Korea's furthest-reaching missile which can fly more than 13,000km, putting the the US East Coast within its reach.

Pyongyang has said it has the remains of about 200 people believed to be US troops who died in the Korean War.

Immediately after meeting with Kim, Trump assured the world that "there is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea."

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North Korea has carried out a total of six nuclear tests, the most recent of which took place in September a year ago. Moreover, the test stand could easily be rebuilt within months.

Pompeo assured lawmakers that the USA was working toward finding a solution without easing its sanctions against North Korea, but also admitted during his testimony that it was "continuing to create fissile material".

Photos and infrared imaging indicate vehicles moving in and out of the facility at Sanumdong, the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity because the intelligence is classified. The Monterey, California, nonprofit group analyzed commercial photos obtained from the satellite imagery firm Planet.

Kim's delegation joined the North Korean delegation led by Lt. Gen.

On Tuesday athletes from the two sides met in Chungju, in central South Korea, for a "launching ceremony" for their boats.

More than 400 caskets of remains found in North Korea were returned to the United States between the 1990s and 2005, with the bodies of some 330 other Americans also accounted for, according to the DPAA. The images, first reported by the online publication the Diplomat, depict a football-field-size building surrounded by a high wall, in North Korea's Chollima-guyok district, southwest of the capital.

The DPAA Laboratory at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, is the first US stop for the recently returned remains. About 7,700 USA soldiers are listed as missing from the 1950-53 Korean War, and 5,300 of the remains are believed to still be in North Korea. The new USA military intelligence assessment was first reported on Monday by the Washington Post. However, while USA intelligence agencies agree that the Kangson site is used to enrich uranium, not all European intelligence officials are so sure. And as I said to them, my father, anytime the war came up and anyone used the word 'hero, ' my dad would say, the heroes were the ones that didn't come home.

"Pressure on the regime is clearly being felt", Pompeo said.

The Sanum-dong site is associated with North Korea's ICBM program.

But what about the pledge that Kim signed?

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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