Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

North Korean sends top diplomat to key ally China

Kim Jong-un led the testing of a newly developed tactical weapon last month Kim Jong-un led the testing of a newly developed tactical weapon last month Credit KCNA Reuters
Andrew Cummings | 08 December, 2018, 16:32

They confirm what has become increasingly obvious in the past few months - that Mr Trump's summit with Mr Kim last June has done little to stop the North from consolidating its long-range nuclear capability.

Yeongjeo-dong has always been known to USA intelligence agencies but researchers at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey said that the construction on a new facility, at Hoejung-ri, seven miles away, had not previously been publicly identified.

As of August 2018, researchers said North Korea is continuing to construct an extremely large underground facility. Trump's National Security Advisor John Bolton said the North has not lived up to those commitments yet.

China is North Korea's most important economic and political partner, but has agreed to United Nations economic sanctions aimed at pressuring leader Kim Jong Un to abandon his drive to develop nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles to deliver them.

North Korea has clandestinely expanded one of its main long-range missile development bases during recent months, according to new reports based on satellite imagery collected during October and November. "We will not discuss matters of intelligence", Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Chris Logan told CNN. Despite summit talks on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, satellite footage showed that Pyongyang was continuing its missile program.

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Satellite images have picked up activity at a North Korean missile base. On Saturday, he told reporters that his next meeting with Kim was likely to happen in January or February.

He suggested the meeting could happen in January or February and that the USA could continue to enforce the economic sanctions it imposed on North Korea over its weapons program.

Last year, the US led a series of U.N. Security Council sanctions resolutions punishing the North for its tests of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles. "Any denuclearization agreement would require North Korea to allow global inspectors to determine that these units are no longer armed with nuclear weapons", according to the report from Lewis and Schmerler. Kim pretends to disarm and Trump pretends to believe him.

One such facility is the missile base near Yeongjeo-dong, a site that has long concerned US and South Korean officials and the subject of the analysis of the new images released Wednesday.

At the time, some experts said the United States could soon accept a North Korean request for a joint declaration of the end of the 1950-53 Korean War as part of security assurances to the North.

The base itself is strung along a narrow valley.

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