North Korea hiding missile bases, U.S. researchers say

FILE North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects an underwater test-fire of a strategic submarine ballistic missile at an undisclosed location in North

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

President Donald Trump played down concern about a new report that identified thirteen undeclared North Korean missile bases, saying that the USA was fully aware of them and suggesting that negotiations with the country remain on track.

"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!" the president tweeted.

"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.

"Satellite images suggest that the North has been engaged in a great deception: It has offered to dismantle a major launching site - a step it began, then halted - while continuing to make improvements at more than a dozen others that would bolster launches of conventional and nuclear warheads", the New York Times reported, referring to a think tank's analysis of satellite images.

But researchers at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington said they have located 13 missile operating bases that have not been declared by the government, and that there may be as many as 20.

The images appear to support claims Kim is pressing ahead with his ballistic missile programme despite telling the world he was working towards the denuclearisation agreed with Donald Trump in historic talks earlier this year.

Monday's photos come just days after North Korea abruptly cancelled a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, where the leaders were expected to discuss allowing global inspectors into the country to confirm Pyongyang has begun dismantling its nuclear and missile test sites.

The Times said the Pentagon had planned to begin deploying a new generation of small, low-cost satellites to track North Korea's mobile missiles, but the programme has been held up by bureaucratic and budget disputes. It said they are scattered across the country and designed so that mobile missile launchers can quickly be taken out of the underground facilities and moved to launch sites.

Moon leaves for Singapore to take part in ASEAN summits
China and ASEAN agreed in August on a working text to continue long drawn-out negotiations over the code of conduct. The annual ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) summit is also taking place in Singapore next week.

Kim said such suggestions can "trigger misunderstanding and potentially block dialogue ... at a time when we need dialogue between North Korea and the United States".

The report singled out a base known as Sakkanmol, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of the demilitarized zone and one of the closest to South Korea.

"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.

Trump himself commented on the report as well, taking to social media Tuesday to attack what he believed to be an inaccurate reading of the situation.

Marie Harf questioned if North Korea has given anything up, noting that they still have missiles and are just not testing them.

Senator Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement that Trump was "getting played by Kim Jong Un". The nuclear threat to the United States, South Korea, and Japan is exactly the same as it was before the Trump-Kim summit.

The report said: "Missile operating bases are not launch facilities". As of this month, "the base is active and being reasonably well-maintained by North Korean standards" with minor infrastructure changes.

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