Images suggest North Korea dismantling launch site
Satellite images reportedly suggest North Korea has begun dismantling facilities at a major satellite launch site as a step toward fulfilling promises made to President Trump during a historic summit.
According to The Associated Press, analysts say images show a rocket engine test stand and another building being razed by North Korean forces.
Analysts wrote that the move was meant to send a signal to the U.S. and its allies that the North remains committed to the deal struck in Singapore, the AP added.
“Since these facilities are believed to have played an important role in the development of technologies for the North’s intercontinental ballistic missile program, these efforts represent a significant confidence building measure on the part of North Korea,” analyst Joseph Bermudez wrote for 38 North, according to the news service.
An official at the Federation of American Scientists said, however, that the dismantled facilities would not dramatically affect North Korea’s nuclear capability, but are meant to show Pyongyang’s goodwill.
“The actions at Sohae are a helpful signal that Pyongyang wants to continue negotiations, but do not in themselves advance nuclear disarmament,” analyst Adam Mount told the AP. “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. So far, the facilities dismantled have been peripheral to these core functions.”
Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in Singapore last month for an unprecedented meeting between a sitting U.S. president and his North Korean counterpart. The two men agreed to work on a gradual denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula during the summit.
News of the North’s action at the test facility comes days after reports that Trump had become frustrated with progress on the issue.
“I’m in no real rush. I mean whatever it takes, it takes,” Trump told reporters of negotiations with North Korea last week.
— This report was updated at 8:19 a.m.
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