North Korea Is Continuing to Produce ICBMs — US Intelligence

"Since these facilities are believed to have played an important role in the development of technologies for the North's intercontinental ballistic missile program", says Joseph Bermudez on the website 38 North, "these efforts represent a significant confidence-building measure on the part of North Korea".

Intelligence reports also state that North Korean officials intend to "deceive Washington about the number of nuclear warheads and missiles" and to also fool worldwide inspectors while hiding some of their facilities.

Monday's report, citing intelligence gathered by US spy agencies and unidentified officials, also said there were signs that North Korea is continuing to construct at least one, and possibly two, liquid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of reaching the United States.

As he returned from his summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un last month, President Trump tweeted that "everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office", as "There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea".

The Post's report cited unidentified officials familiar with intelligence reporting.

The rockets were being built at a facility in Sanumdong, on the outskirts of Pyongyang, the paper said.

During last month's Singapore summit Kim agreed "to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", but the document signed by Kim and Trump did not include details of how and when North Korea would denuclearize.

These are not the first reports that North Korea may be continuing its weapons programme, casting doubt on the real impact of the summit in Singapore. He declined to answer questions about whether the North's nuclear program was still advancing and whether Pyongyang was looking to acquire ballistic missiles that could be launched from submarines.

"President Trump remains upbeat about the prospects for North Korean denuclearization".

Widodo offered in April to host a summit between North and South Korea, after meeting ambassadors from both Koreas. This was a site linked to past missiles, so naturally they concluded the factory might be building one or two new ICBMs.

A United States official having knowledge of the latest intelligence assessment on Pyongyang told Fox News, "It's business is as usual". However, just as in the case of all the supposed chemical and biological weapons sites in Iraq, US intelligence agencies have in the past declared that certain sites within North Korea were secret nuclear facilities, when further investigation showed less threatening answers. Liquid fueling can also take a fairly long time to complete, giving U.S. spy satellites a period of time to see launch preparations underway.

A similar invitation was sent last week to South Korean leader Moon Jae-in, who said he would "consider attending" the ceremony in Jakarta.

The Post mentioned that workers were seen dismantling an engine test stand at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station on the North's west coast, but noted that many experts see it as a symbolic gesture as Pyongyang has successfully launched ICBMs that use the kind of liquid-fueled engines tested at Sohae.

Intriguingly, one image, taken July 7, depicts a bright-red covered trailer in a loading area.

North Korea got respect, trade, and weapons, and now they appear to be going on as if Singapore put no restrictions on them.

But Narang said the most interesting revelation was not that the North was continuing to build its nuclear forces, but rather the apparent strategy of deception.

  • Rogelio Becker