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No new dismantling activity at N. Korean missile site: U.S. think tank

All News 04:38 January 31, 2019

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has not taken additional steps to dismantle its main missile facility since August, a U.S. think tank said Wednesday.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies based its findings on commercial satellite imagery from Jan. 20.

It said there was visible dismantlement activity at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in July and August, after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reportedly promised U.S. President Donald Trump at their historic June summit to take down the vertical engine test stand and processing building.

Then the activity came to a halt.

"All of the dismantling actions taken during 2018 only require minimal effort to reverse," the think tank said in a report.

The launch pad continues to show removed parts, the engine test stand's steel superstructure remains partially dismantled, and minor observable activity throughout the facility is consistent with what has been seen since its establishment, the report said.

Trump and Kim agreed at their first summit to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for security guarantees for Pyongyang.

The deal's implementation has stalled as the U.S. demands more concrete denuclearization steps and the North seeks concessions including sanctions relief.

The two men are set to meet again in late February to try to break the impasse.

"Dismantlement of Sohae would represent diminution of the inter-continental ballistic missile threat and could be pointed to as an achievement not accomplished by past U.S.-DPRK negotiations," the report said, referring to the North by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"However, without negotiations over North Korea's operational short-range ballistic missile, medium-range ballistic missile, and intermediate-range ballistic missile bases, U.S. acceptance of such a deal would raise concerns about decoupling from extant missile threats directed at Seoul and Tokyo."

The U.S. should keep pushing for a complete and verifiable declaration of the North's nuclear weapons, ballistic missile systems and missile related facilities, it added.


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