Trump says nothing new in CSIS report on North Korean missile bases

DECEPTION The communist state has around 16 hidden bases producing the devastating weapons

President Donald Trump declared after his historic summit in June that with President Kim Jong Un there was "no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea".

Construction began on the Sakkanmol Missile Operating Base between 1991 and 1993 and it is thought to have been completed in 2001, and added to since 2011 when Mr Kim came to power.

USA analysts said Monday they have located 13 secret North Korean missile development sites, underscoring the challenge that the Trump administration faces in trying to reach its promised broad arms control agreement with Pyongyang.

Not only has North Korea never pledged to abandon these sites described in the report, it has never pledged to acknowledge they exist, the spokesman reminded.

"It rather calls for the need to restart (denuclearization) talks early", he said.

The new images, released by the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Beyond Parallel program, showed a possible base in Sakkanmol, about 50 miles from the Demilitarized Zone, equipped with what CSIS says are headquarter buildings, barracks, maintenance depots and entrances to underground tunnels that can hide missiles and transport trucks.

It's true that the North Korean missile program was never included in the Singapore statement signed by both leaders, and would not appear to breach any other agreements signed by Pyongyang. They argued that the news was being spun to make it appear that Pyongyang was blatantly disregarding agreements with the USA and actively ramping up its nuclear and missile programs. This is largely due to vastly different views in Pyongyang and Washington over how to achieve it.

"There were no specifics or written commitments for detailed scheduling over what to do with North Korea's weapons of mass destruction", said Go Myong Hyun, a research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, a think tank in Seoul, South Korea.

The United States, meanwhile, has delayed approval of several requests for exemptions to UN sanctions to deliver tractors, spare parts and other humanitarian relief supplies to North Korea, according to documents seen last week by AFP.

North Korean rhetoric has noticeably sharpened recently. On Thursday, Russia called a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to take up its request for humanitarian exemptions to worldwide sanctions on Pyongyang.

North Korean media has called U.S. actions "conniving psychological tactics".

"I would say that North Korea's basic missile threat and its nuclear threat which would use the ballistic missiles as its delivery system remains very significant and has not changed in the last 10 years", Bermudez said.

In reality, Kim's arsenal remains as potent as ever - albeit far less public.

Despite these assurances from the Trump administration that the talks will resume, experts remain skeptical.

And in terms of optics, there has been a dramatic shift. "Otherwise, you're just satiating Kim Jong Un". Intercontinental ballistic missiles notably did not roll through Kim Il Sung Square during a military parade to mark the nation's 70th anniversary.

The strategy may be working for Kim, at least in terms of his relationship with the US President.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had been scheduled to meet Kim's right-hand man, Kim Yong Chol, in NY last week to discuss denuclearization efforts and prepare for a possible second summit, according to the State Department.

Kim has agreed to temporarily suspend nuclear and missile tests, to shut down a nuclear testing site, and eventually dismantle the Yongbyon nuclear facility that manufactures the fuel for nuclear weapons-if the US agrees to unspecified demands.

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