North Korea reportedly developing new missiles after pledging denuclearization


Jane Onyanga-Omara


USA TODAY

Published 2:08 p.m. UTC Jul 31, 2018

Indicators including recent satellite imagery show that North Korea is developing new missiles, according to a media report.

The Washington Post, which first reported the development, said Monday that U.S. intelligence agencies are seeing signs that Pyongyang is building the missiles in the same research facility that manufactured the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that are capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.

Evidence indicates that work has begun to build at least one and possibly two liquid-fueled ICBMs at the site in Sanumdong, on the outskirts of the capital Pyongyang, the Post reported, citing officials speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss classified intelligence.

Reuters reported that an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the intelligence is classified said photos and infrared images indicated that vehicles were moving in and out of the Sanumdong site but did not show how advanced any building of missiles could be.

The reports came after President Donald Trump tweeted following a summit last month in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that “there is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.” Kim pledged the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” at the summit, but the short agreement said nothing about inspections or a verification process to make sure North Korea follows through.

More: North Korea hands over remains said to be US soldiers from Korean War, White House says

More: Donald Trump thinks things are ‘going well’ with North Korea – others are skeptical

More: A week later, President Trump is still defending North Korea agreement

Last week, Trump said: “New images just today show that North Korea has begun the process of dismantling a key missile site, and we appreciate that,” an apparent reference to a report by monitoring website 38 North that satellite imagery of North Korea’s main satellite launch facility indicated that Pyongyang had begun dismantling key facilities.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a Senate committee hearing last week that North Korea was still producing fissile material that is used to manufacture nuclear weapons, despite the pledge to denuclearize. 

On Tuesday, generals from North and South Korea met at their border for talks aimed at easing a decades-long military standoff, the second such meeting since a landmark summit between the nations’ leaders in April. The talks ended with no agreement, but the attendees said they had a meaningful discussion.

On Friday, the White House said North Korea returned the remains of what are believed to be U.S. soldiers killed in the Korean War, a step in fulfilling the agreement between Trump and Kim at the summit in Singapore.

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