Despite North Korea’s pledge to dismantle key sites related to its nuclear missile program, little is taking place on the ground to fulfill that pledge, according to new reports.
The website 38 North, which interprets satellite images of North Korea’s missile facilities, recently released two reports — one on the Sohae Satellite Launching Station and one on the Punggye-ri nuclear test site.
The launching facility “has installed new equipment, possibly for ventilation, on the roof of the eastern-most fuel/oxidizer storage bunker,” the site reported, based on satellite images from Oct. 31.
“The recent imagery also shows no further dismantlement activity at the vertical engine test stand and launch pad since August. Components that were previously removed remain stacked on the ground at both locations.”
“These developments, combined with the continued presence and movement of vehicles at the administrative and security headquarters at the entrance to the site along with new objects placed on the roof of one of the buildings, indicate activity continues at Sohae at a low level,” 38 North said.
The nuclear site shows “partial site cleanup, possibly including reclamation and removal of wood from the buildings demolished last May as part of the site’s closure,” the site reported, citing satellite images from Oct. 31.
The site reported no major changes during October.
Concerns over the stalled North Korean disarmament talks grew Friday after North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said that nuclear development could move forward, according to the Japan Times.
“If the U.S. keeps behaving arrogant (sic) without showing any change in its stand … the DPRK may add one thing to the state line for directing all efforts to the economic construction adopted in April and as a result, the word ‘pyongjin’ (simultaneously conducting economic construction and building up nuclear forces) may appear again and the change of the line could be seriously reconsidered,” the statement said.
“The U.S. thinks that its oft-repeated ‘sanctions and pressure’ lead to ‘denuclearization.’ We cannot help laughing at such a foolish idea.”
The statement claimed that North Korea has moved forward, but said the U.S. needs to do the same.
“Now that we gave all things possible to the U.S., things it hardly deserves, by taking proactive and good-will measures, what remains to be done is the U.S. corresponding reply,” the statement said.
“Unless there is any reply, the DPRK will not move even 1mm, how costly it may be.”
North Korea’s statement followed the cancellation of a scheduled meeting between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea’s Workers’ Party Central Committee, Newsweek reported.
In a news conference on Wednesday, President Donald Trump said, “I would love to take the sanctions off, but they have to be responsive, too. It’s a two- way street,” according to VOA.
Although relations between the U.S. and North Korea have chilled, South Korea reported Saturday that the two nations have so far completed withdrawing troops and weapons from 22 posts along the demilitarized zone between the two nations, Fox News reported.
The two nations announced earlier this year that they would scale back border guards and weapons to reduce tensions between the two countries.
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