Kim Jong Un Caves, Begins Dismantling Key Launch Facilities


Launch facilities for North Korea’s missile program are being dismantled by Kim Jong Un’s regime, 38 North reports.

“In an important first step towards fulfilling a commitment made by Kim Jong Un at the June 12 Singapore Summit, new commercial satellite imagery of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station (North Korea’s main satellite launch facility since 2012) indicates that the North has begun dismantling key facilities,” stated a Monday report from the site, which monitors developments in North Korea.

“Most notably, these include the rail-mounted processing building — where space launch vehicles are prepared before moving them to the launch pad — and the nearby rocket engine test stand used to develop liquid-fuel engines for ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles.

“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.”

Satellite imagery “of the launch pad from July 20 shows that the rail-mounted processing/transfer structure has been moved to the middle of the pad, exposing the underground rail transfer point — one of the few times it has been seen in this location.”

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“The roof and supporting structure have been partially removed and numerous vehicles are present — including a large construction crane,” the report added. “An image from two days later shows the continued presence of the crane and vehicles. Considerable progress has been made in dismantling the rail-mounted processing/transfer structure. One corner has been completely dismantled and the parts can be seen lying on the ground. In both images the two fuel/oxidizer bunkers, main processing building and gantry tower remain untouched.”

The report comes amid a CNN report (disputed by the White House) that President Trump is unhappy with progress on North Korea and signs from North Korea that it wants a “bold” (read: unilateral) move toward peace before denuclearization.

On Monday, Trump touted North Korea’s halt to its missile launches and freeze on its nuclear program as proof his policies are working.

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“A Rocket has not been launched by North Korea in 9 months,” Trump tweeted.

“Likewise, no Nuclear Tests. Japan is happy, all of Asia is happy. But the Fake News is saying, without ever asking me (always anonymous sources), that I am angry because it is not going fast enough. Wrong, very happy!”

Trump also attacked The Washington Post for an article that claimed that “the North Koreans have canceled follow-up meetings, demanded more money and failed to maintain basic communications, even as the once-isolated regime’s engagements with China and South Korea flourish.”

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Well, I’m sure the Democracy Dies in Darkness folks probably won’t be terribly frightened by this development, but North Korea’s leaders are apparently sufficiently wary about the administration’s carrot-and-stick policy, probably sensing they’re about to see a bit more stick than carrot.

That being said, the freeze and the dismantling of this missile launch site are definite signs that the North Koreans are following through at some level.

Progress may be slow, but that could have been expected from the beginning. As for where we go from here, only time will tell — but the fact is that we are seeing incremental goals being attained after the Singapore summit.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture