North Korea appears to be dismantling missile launch facility, images show

North Korea has begun dismantling its main nuclear test site, research group 28 North said Monday.

Sohae, on the northwest coast of North Korea, is ostensibly a facility designed for putting satellites into orbit, but rocket engines are easily repurposed for use in missiles and the worldwide community has labelled Pyongyang's space program a fig leaf for weapons tests.

The complex north of the capital, Pyongyang, has been used to develop technologies for the North's intercontinental ballistic missile program and therefore the dismantling represents "a significant confidence building measure", according to the analysis by defense expert Joseph Bermudez Jr.

"It will take full enforcement of sanctions for us to get there, it will also take chairman Kim following through on his personal commitments that he made to President Trump in Singapore", stated Pompeo.

The supposed dismantlement of the site comes after Trump and Kim signed an agreement to work towards the goal of "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula". He said he is anxious about North Korea's decision to dismantle its facilities without verification.

Reuters quoted a Chinese official insisting his government has not helped North Korea undermine sanctions and has duly reported all oil shipments to the U.N. Security Council.

Satellite images indicate that North Korea has begun to dismantle its primary rocket launch site, but Gen. Jack Keane said while it may be a step in the right direction, it may not be the kind of progress the USA should be making. The launch in February 2016 was particularly contentious because Pyongyang had conducted a nuclear test just a month earlier.

Officials estimate the work started in the last two weeks.

Senior U.S. officials called on Kim on Friday to act on his promise to give up his nuclear weapons and said the world, including China and Russian Federation, must continue to enforce sanctions on Pyongyang until he does so.

Nam Gwan-pyo, a senior South Korean official, told reporters: "It will likely have a good effect on denuclearisation". "Japan is happy, all of Asia is happy", he said.

The Sohae site has also been used to test large Paektusan engines built for long-range missiles such as the Hwasong-15 ICBM, which the North claims is capable of striking all of the United States. He said that with eventual denuclearization, there would be "big benefits and exciting future for North Korea at end of process!"

According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, about 7,700 USA service members are still listed as missing from the Korean War; about 5,300 of them are believed to have been lost in what is now North Korea.

"North Korea has never once said, not once have they said that they're willing to unilaterally disarm and give up their nuclear weapons program."
In December 2012, the North launched a rocket, ostensibly called a space launch vehicle, from the site that overflew Okinawa and crashed in the ocean some 300 km off the Philippines.

Trump rejected "Fake News" that he was angry because progress was not happening fast enough with North Korea.

China and Russian Federation have argued that North Korea should be rewarded with the prospect of eased sanctions for opening up dialogue with the United States and halting missile tests.

  • Rogelio Becker