New Satellite Images Show Hidden North Korea Missile Bases

Academics use official footage of missile launches and visits to factories by the North's leader Kim Jong Un to gain rare insights into the progress of the country's weapons programmes

South Korea has attempted to play down the significance of the undeclared missile sites.

He said: "North Korea has never promised to shut down this missile base".

The report said Sakkanmol, the site closest to the border with South Korea and its capital Seoul, appears to be "active and being reasonably well maintained".

Asked about the report, Trump's national security adviser John Bolton told reporters in Singapore on November 13 that Trump "has given North Korea an incredible opportunity to walk through a door to a different future if they denuclearize ... but they still need to do that". "The last round of tests under Kim Jong-un were not just coming from missile test sites".

North Korea has not tested a nuclear bomb or ballistic missile since a year ago, and has said it has shuttered its main nuclear test site with plans to dismantle several more facilities.

Kim agreed to abandon his nuclear program and was willing to be inspected by worldwide organisations in exchange for the U.S. to also make concessions.

Thirteen undeclared North Korean missile operating bases were identified in a new report, undermining the Trump administration's claims that its outreach to Pyongyang is making progress in getting Kim Jong Un's regime to give up its nuclear weapons program.

SEOUL-Analysts say North Korea still sees its nuclear arsenal as a key tool in securing its national safety and winning concessions from worldwide rivals.

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The CSIS report was "nothing new" to American and South Korean intelligence officials, a spokesman for South Korean President Moon Jae-in told reporters Tuesday, adding that describing North Korea's missile activities as deceptive risked hindering diplomacy.

USA officials including Pompeo and Nikki Haley, Washington's ambassador to the UN, have insisted on North Korea's "complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearisation" before approving any scaling back of UN Security Council sanctions meant to cut the country's external trade to humanitarian aid and small quantities of fuel.

But imagery of one of the sites identified by CSIS, located 84 miles (135km) northwest of Seoul, shows entrances to seven underground missile facilities and missile launchers hidden by camouflaged tarpaulin. "It has never signed any agreement, any negotiation that makes shutting down missile bases mandatory".

"In short, from the CSIS report we can infer that first, North Korea is not honest enough with negotiating and second, there's no change in their nuclear capacity", he said.

The existence of the bases - which presumably would have to be declared and then dismantled under the USA goal of North Korean "denuclearization" - suggests that Pyongyang's previous efforts to dismantle known missile launch sites or nuclear facilities had little impact on its nuclear program. If Kim feels "betrayed" by the release of this report, it could be the sort of excuse he's been wating for to walk away from negotiations with the United States as I've suggested in the past he might do.

The Trump administration abandoned Victor Cha as its pick for the South Korean ambassador's post because Cha disagreed with the "bloody nose" preventive strike strategy proposed by some in the administration as a way to achieve the president's goal of removing nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula, according to analysts interviewed by the South China Morning Post at the time.

North Korea called off a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in NY last week and said the resumption of military drills by South Korea and the US violated agreements aimed at lowering tensions in the region.

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