Published: Tue, July 24, 2018
Markets | By Josh Butler

North Korea takes down some launch site facilities: USA group

North Korea takes down some launch site facilities: USA group

The U.S. research group says North Korea has started dismantling key facilities at its main satellite launch site in what appears to be a step toward fulfilling a commitment made by leader Kim Jong Un at his summit with President Donald Trump in June.

A satellite image released by 38 North on Monday showing the partial dismantling at the Sohae launch site in North Korea.

The Washington Post and other media outlets have reported in recent days that Trump has fumed at his aides in private about a lack of progress since the June 12 summit in Singapore even as he publicly hails the success of the negotiations.

According to The Associated Press, analysts say images show a rocket engine test stand and another building being razed by North Korean forces.

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

Town said that while dismantlement was "absolutely" reversible and "clearly isn't going to affect North Korea's core capabilities", it had implications for the negotiating process with the US, which had hit a wall in recent weeks.

Shares of South Korean companies with exposure to North Korea rose after the news that the satellite site was being dismantled.

The July 22 photo shows visible progress made in the dismantlement.

A rocket launch from Sohae space centre in 2016, shown on North Korean TV.

SOHAE SATELLITE LAUNCH PAD NORTH KOREA- JULY 20 2018 Figure 1. By July 20 dismantlement had begun of the rail-mounted transfer structure on the Sohae launch pad. Mandatory credit for all images DigitalGlobe/38 North via Getty Images
Report says images indicate North Korea dismantling test site facilities

During the landmark meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in Singapore last month, the two leaders signed a deal to work towards the "complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula".

It follows comments from the United States president last week that there was "no time limit" for North Korea to denuclearise and no need to rush the process. The launch in February 2016 was particularly contentious because Pyongyang had conducted a nuclear test just a month earlier.

But while the dismantlement of Sohae gives Trump some breathing room after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's uneventful talks recently in Pyongyang, Carnegie's Schoff was wary of the North using the move to push for a peace regime. But the Fake News is saying, without ever asking me (always anonymous sources), that I am angry because it is not going fast enough.

More than 7,700 USA troops who fought in the Korean War remain unaccounted for, with about 5,300 of those lost in what is now North Korea, according to the Defence POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), the US military agency tasked with tracking down prisoners of war and troops missing in action.

A South Korean delegation that traveled to NY over the past weekend said Seoul needed to be exempted from some global sanctions against the North to implement the Panmunjom Declaration.

"Dismantling a test site does not seriously constrain the existing arsenal or even future designs", said Mount.

U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said on Thursday it was technically possible for North Korea to eliminate its nuclear weapons program within a year, but added that it was not likely to happen.

The North Korean government has maintained that the site is only for scientific and peaceful uses, but USA intelligence believes Sohae plays a critical role in testing technology used in their long-range missile program.

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