U.S. detects new activity at North Korea factory that built ICBMs

01 August, 2018, 21:30 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • A Korean veterans remembrance ceremony in 2017

USA spy agencies suspect that North Korea is building new missiles in the same research facility that manufactured the country's first ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States.

Satellite images show that North Korea is behaving like a country working hard on its missile program, not a country preparing to disarm, the Washington Post reports, citing "officials familiar with the intelligence".

North Korea provided the 55 boxes in a delayed fulfillment of a commitment its leader, Kim Jong Un, made to President Donald Trump at their Singapore summit on June 12.

But what about the pledge that Kim signed?

The Games' opening ceremony is August 18, which leaves Kim, who has launched a series of diplomatic engagements in 2018, only a few weeks to decide whether to attend the event that will bring the teams of North and South Korea together.

An official told Reuters news agency that photos and infrared imaging indicates vehicles are moving in and out of the Sanumdong facility, but that it is unclear how far along the missile construction could be.

Gee, if only anyone had seen this coming.

The remains were then moved in gray vans to an airfield where US and South Korean soldiers loaded them one by one into two transport planes.

North Korea also called the talks with a delegation led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in July "regrettable", claiming the USA has undermined the spirit of the summit.

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An initial "field forensic review" shows that the "remains are what North Korea said they were", John Byrd, director of analysis for the U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), told reporters in South Korea, according to Reuters.

The intelligence finding draws a sharp contrast with Trump's proclamation after his summit meeting with Kim in Singapore that North Korea was "no longer a Nuclear Threat".

According to the US Department of Defense, 7,697 personnel from the Korean conflict are still unaccounted for, of whom 5,300 are believed to be North of the demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea.

The good news, from Trump's standpoint, is that it will take years to definitively identify the remains. But North Korea only provided one dog tag with the 55 boxes it handed over last week.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last month that the two sides had agreed to recommence field operations in North Korea to search for the missing Americans, and the Pentagon say it is considering sending personnel to North Korea for this goal. But there is a broad consensus among US intelligence agencies that Kangson is one of at least two secret enrichment plants.

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

The lack of progress has been a source of concern for many observers, especially as global sanctions are beginning to ease and news reports indicate that North Korea is continuing its nuclear and ballistic programs.

If the reported North Korean nuclear activity seems inconsistent with what went down at the meeting in Indonesia, it's because Trump oversold the progress he made there.

As noted above, North Korea appears to be building more long-range ballistic missiles even as it dismantles the Sohae station. "Fissile Material" is uranium or plutonium that can be used to produce the nuclear fission reaction necessary for nuclear weapons.

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