North Korea 'working on new missiles', US officials say
North Korea appears to be building new ballistic missiles despite recent warming ties with the Trump administration, media reports say.
Unnamed US officials told the Washington Post that spy satellites had spotted continuing activity at a web site that has produced ballistic missiles.
Reuters news agency quotes an official as saying it is unclear how far the work has gone.
President Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in June.
- Trump-Kim summit explained
- Is North Korea sticking with its nukes?
After the 1st meeting in between sitting leaders from the two countries, the two men pledged to perform towards denuclearisation. Mr Trump later said North Korea was “no longer a nuclear threat”.
But Mr Trump was criticised at property for generating concessions with out securing any firm commitment from Mr Kim to end the nuclear and missile programmes.
What do the latest reports say?
On Monday, the Washington Post newspaper quoted officials as saying North Korea appeared to be building 1 or two new liquid-fuelled intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) at the Sanumdong facility close to the capital, Pyongyang.
The factory is identified to have produced the Hwasong-15, the 1st North Korean ICBM capable of reaching the US.
Nonetheless, a US official told news agency Reuters that a liquid-fuelled ICBM didn’t “pose almost the threat that a strong-fuelled one would simply because they take so extended to fuel”.
Reuters also added that satellite imaging showed automobiles moving in and out of the facility, but not the extent of any missile construction.
What are professionals saying about this?
These are not the first reports that North Korea could be continuing its weapons programme, casting doubt on the true impact of the summit in Singapore.
Satellite imagery of the Sanumdong facility shows that the web site is “active”, Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) told the Washington Post.
“[The facility] is not dead, by any stretch of the imagination,” said Mr Lewis. “We see shipping containers and cars coming and going. This is a facility where they build ICBMs and space-launch autos.”
Another North Korean expert from MIIS, Melissa Hanham, told the BBC that the facility had “normal traffic in and out of the developing”, adding that this “targeted traffic pattern” on the web site stayed “about the same via the Panmunjom and Singapore meetings”.
This indicated that there had not been a complete stop in activity throughout the summit talks.
She also noted that huge “brightly coloured containers” also showed up in satellite imagery, saying that “containers related to these have appeared during earlier ICBM inspections by Mr Kim.”
Ms Hanham added that while that authorities at MIIS could not “discover a way to confirm the [intelligence] leak”, the details has matched proof from satellite imagery.
What was agreed on in the Singapore summit?
North Korea has carried out a total of six nuclear tests, the most recent of which took place in September final year. It has in the past two years swiftly advanced its nuclear programme.
But at their landmark meeting in Singapore, Mr Trump and Mr Kim agreed to perform towards the “complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”.
It really is been unclear what both sides mean by “comprehensive denuclearisation”, and no further particulars have been released about when or how Pyongyang would renounce its nuclear weapons nor how the procedure would be verified.
Authorities have also cast doubt on regardless of whether Pyongyang has been genuine in its apparent commitment to “denuclearise”.
- What have been the final results of the Trump-Kim summit?
- Did the summit rhetoric match reality?
Final week, it appeared North Korea had begun dismantling part of a important rocket launch website, but according to recent reports based on US intelligence leaks, Pyongyang may well nonetheless secretly be continuing its nuclear weapons programme.
Reports had indicated that North Korea was upgrading its only official nuclear enrichment website, and was stepping up enrichment at other secret web sites.
Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was forced to admit that North Korea was continuing to make nuclear fissile material, though he insisted that “progress is happening”.
Published at Tue, 31 Jul 2018 04:45:21 +0000