Published: Thu, November 15, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

North Korea 'hiding missile bases', U.S. researchers say

North Korea 'hiding missile bases', U.S. researchers say

The 13 sites are among an estimated 20 bases, which are small and dispersed across the country, that are believed to have underground facilities containing mobile launchers that can be quickly dispersed to other locations, according to the report from Beyond Parallel, a group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

USA analysts said Monday they have located 13 secret North Korean missile development sites, underscoring the challenge that the Trump administration faces in trying to reach its promised broad arms control agreement with Pyongyang.

"North Korea said at the beginning of the year that it would continue its mass production of missiles and nuclear weapons, and what we have here are more than a dozen missile development and production sites", Fitzpatrick told Al Jazeera.

Pompeo and other USA officials have said that clearly includes dismantling its entire nuclear weapons program, but North Korea has not confirmed that.

Radio Free Asia reported Tuesday that when asked whether the hidden sites went against the spirit of the summit, a State Department official said President Trump made it clear that the North has a brighter future should Kim make good on his commitments.

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Years of intensive sanctions have severely impacted North Korea's supply of fossil fuels from the outside world.

In July, The Washington Post said United States intelligence agencies have found that North Korea is building new missiles, based on satellite photographs taken at the time and other new evidence.

Trump's June meeting in Singapore with Kim in the first-ever summit between the two countries that never formally ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

On Monday South Korea's Defense Minister said more than 600 landmines were removed from the North's side of the village.

"I don't see a kind of ground breaking or new information really", said Daniel Pinkston, a lecturer at Troy University in Seoul, adding the Sakkanmol site the report highlighted "has been known for a long time, for at least 20 years".

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The report included a detailed profile of one such tactical missile operating base, illustrated with commercial satellite imagery, just 84 miles northwest of Seoul. For decades, the bases have been camouflaged to prevent destruction from preemptive strikes and during military operations.

The report was released less than a week after North Korea abruptly called off a new round of negotiations with Mr Pompeo that had been set for Thursday in NY.

'While missiles could be launched from within them in an emergency, Korean People's Army (KPA) operational procedures call for missile launchers to disperse from the bases to pre-surveyed or semi-prepared launch sites for operations'.

Under an agreement made between their generals in late October, North and South Korea agreed to each remove 10 posts and preserve one on either side of the frontier.

"We made more progress in that four or five months (since the summit) than they have made in 70 years", he said, referring to previous United States leaders.

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What about the agreement Kim signed?

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