North Korea Is Actually Dismantling a Key Nuclear Test Site - Leah Barkoukis

Hannah Rogers
July 25, 2018

The U.S. -based North Korea monitoring group 38 North said recent satellite images show North Korea has begun dismantling key facilities at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station on the country's northwest coast. The facilities included a rocket engine test stand, which is used to develop liquid-fuel engines for ballistic missiles.

Relations between the United States and North Korea appeared to take a dive as North Korea accused the USA of a "gangster-like mindset" during the high-level negotiations. He added that North Korea has missiles that do not require a special launch center. In February 2016, the North launched its Gwangmyeongsong-4 satellite at the site, a month after the fourth nuclear test, according to Hankyoreh.

"North Korea still has not disclosed or offered to dismantle facilities that produce or store nuclear or missile systems, or the means to transport the missiles". It's also troubling that North Korea has apparently been allowed to dodge verification at both Punggye-ri and Sohae.

Lewis's cautionary tale is a reminder of the grave risks at stake if diplomatic talks with Pyongyang fail, and the unsafe consequences that could follow if Washington returns to military brinkmanship and threatening rhetoric in a renewed attempt to pressure North Korea to unilaterally disarm.

Pyongyang has always maintained Sohae was a satellite launch site but U.S. officials have long suspected it was used to test ballistic missiles.

Diplomats say the North Koreans have canceled follow-up meetings, demanded more money and failed to maintain basic communications, even as the once-isolated regime's engagements with China and South Korea flourish.

The move is said to be the dictatorship's first step towards fulfilling a pledge made to the US President Donald Trump in June .

"Since that time, we've seen indeed, a change of at least the approach", Brooks said.

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Many believe that Khan has the backing of the military, which continues to maintain vast influence in the country's politics. In Sindh, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will also address rallies in Jacobabad and Shikarpur.

The 38 North report comes amid growing questions about North Korea's willingness to live up to the commitments Kim made at the June summit, particularly to work toward denuclearization.

South Korea's central bank said North Korea's gross domestic product shrank 3.5 percent past year, marking the biggest decline since 1997, citing global sanctions and drought.

The president, who reportedly has grown angry with news coverage of the meeting, told a crowd in Kansas City, Missouri, that the satellite pictures prove that the negotiation process with North Korea is "going very well".

And the steps taken by North Korea so far are all reversible, says Dr Narang.

Pompeo made the remarks after he and US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley met with UN Secretary-General António Guterres, as well as with leaders from Japan, South Korea and the entire UN Security Council on Friday.

Kim in late 2017 declared his nuclear weapons and missile program was complete, following a torrent of nuclear and missile tests that include the detonation of a purported thermonuclear warhead and flight tests of three developmental ICBMs potentially capable of reaching the USA mainland.

However, Mount said the military consequences of a broader dismantlement would be "marginal". On his part, Trump shortly after the meeting paused some of the joint exercises the U.S. holds with South Korea.

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