Pompeo says North Korea dismantling test site consistent with commitments by Pyongyang

24 July, 2018, 21:13 | Author: Natasha Holloway
  • 05 Sohae North Korea image

Satellite images appear to show that North Korea has begun dismantling key features of a rocket launch site used to develop engines for ballistic missiles.

Nam Gwan-pyo, a senior director from South Korea's presidential National Security Office told journalists on Tuesday, referring to the 38 North report, "It is a better sign than nothing, and I believe [the North] is moving step by step toward denuclearization", according to Yonhap.

Bermudez said the satellite images indicate that Pyongyang took "an important first step toward fulfilling a commitment made by Kim Jong-un".

It added in its report: "Since these facilities are believed to have played an important role in the development of technologies for the North's intercontinental ballistic missile program, these efforts represent a significant confidence-building measure on the part of North Korea".

"We've been pressing for there to be inspectors on the ground when that engine test facility is dismantled, consistent with Mr. Kim's commitment", Pompeo said at a news briefing following meetings with his Australian counterpart.

The US-based monitoring group 38 North analysed images of the Sohae Satellite Launch Station, concluding that two key features are being dismantled.

Dr Narang says in some ways, that is consistent with North Korea's stance.

"A Rocket has not been launched by North Korea in 9 months", Trump wrote in a morning tweet.

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Earlier on Monday, President Trump said that he was "very happy" with the progress in relations with North Korea, saying that Pyongyang had not launched any missiles or carried out any nuclear tests during the last nine months. The president didn't identify the exact site, sparking speculations that North Korea may not be transparent about its activities.

USA officials have repeatedly said North Korea has committed to giving up a nuclear weapons program that now threatens the United States, but Pyongyang has offered no details as to how it might go about this. "Likewise, no Nuclear Tests. Japan is happy, all of Asia is happy", Trump said on Twitter.

It has taken five weeks for the process to start since the historic summit took place between US President Trump and North Korean President Kim Jong-un.

The rare show of discrepancy between the allies came at an unusually sensitive time between the South and North, after North Korean media excruciated South Korean authorities for what it said was kowtowing to the USA on inter-Korean issues.

"Given that the South Korean government also has an obligation to carry out what was agreed upon in the Panmunjom Declaration, it should not sit idle on the issue of declaring an end to the war", Uriminzokkiri, the North's external propaganda website, argued Monday.

"The rail-mounted environmental shelter-which had not been moved since December 2017-has been razed and removed, the older fuel/oxidizer bunkers are in the process of being razed, and portions of the test stand's upper steel framework have been dismantled and its panelling removed", it said.

Diplomats say the North Koreans have canceled follow-up meetings, demanded more money and failed to maintain basic communications, even as the once-isolated regime's engagements with China and South Korea flourish.



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