Tuesday, 19 March, 2019

Korea may be preparing rocket launch and blames US for summit setback

North Korea tested a new rocket at the Sohae facility in March 2017 North Korea tested a new rocket at the Sohae facility in March 2017
Andrew Cummings | 10 March, 2019, 03:41

Commercial satellite images of North Korea's rocket facility in Sanumdong suggest that Pyongyang may be preparing to launch a missile or space rocket in a short time, the US-based NPR radio station reported, publishing one of the pictures.

President Donald Trump said Thursday that he's a "little disappointed" by reports of new activity at a North Korean missile research center and long-range rocket site and that time will tell if USA diplomacy with the reclusive country will be successful.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday that his relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un remains good despite reports of reassembling activity at a key North Korean missile site.

Work to dismantle Sohae began previous year but stopped as USA talks stalled.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has replaced his unification minister who played a major role in detente with North Korea over the past year, his office said on Friday, and named a longtime confidant to lead a drive for "a new Korean peninsula".

North Korea has previously assembled some of its intercontinental ballistic missiles and satellite-launching rockets at Sanumdong.

The official said that the U.S.is still trying to determine exactly what North Korea is doing with recent activity but that the administration will seek clarification from the North as well as intelligence analysts.

Trump's second summit with Kim in Vietnam last week ended without any agreement.

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However, the a State Department official warned that the USA would regard any launch into space as a violation of Trump and Kim's good relationship.

"The president's obviously open to talking again", national security adviser John Bolton told Fox News in an interview. From now on, North Korea's denuclearization must be addressed exclusively based on these facts.

"Given that construction plus activity at other areas of the site, Sohae appears to have returned to normal operational status".

South Korea and the United States signed a deal on Friday that would increase Seoul's financial contribution for the deployment of US troops in the Asian country.

"Let's see what happens, but I would be very disappointed if I saw testing". "That's our goal and that's how we see these negotiations picking up momentum".

A small quake in North Korea was likely caused by a mining operation, Seoul's weather agency said Friday.

Satellite launches use similar technology as ballistic missiles, and experts have long warned that North Korea's attempts to shoot satellites into space could help them develop viable long-range ballistic missiles. South Korea, meanwhile, favors building harmonious relations, including bringing the Korean War to an official end and expanding North-South ties. The presidential Blue House described Kim as a leading expert in "inter-Korean economic cooperation and the North Korean nuclear problem".

North Korea has frozen its missile tests, but it would not be surprising to see tensions rise if there is no progress toward a deal.

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