North Korea Keeps Undeclared Missile Bases Up and Running: US Think Tank

North Korea
KCNA/via Reuters

A U.S. think tank said on Monday it had identified at least 13 of an estimated 20 undeclared missile operating bases inside North Korea, underscoring the challenge for American negotiators hoping to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

In reports released by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, researcher Joseph Bermudez said maintenance and minor infrastructure improvements have been observed at some of the sites, despite the ongoing negotiations.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump pledged to work toward denuclearization at their landmark June summit in Singapore, but the agreement was short on specifics and negotiations have made little headway.

Shortly after that summit, Trump tweeted that “there is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”

North Korea declared its nuclear force “complete” and halted missile and nuclear bomb testing earlier this year, but U.S. and South Korean negotiators have yet to elicit from Pyongyang a concrete declaration of the size or scope of the weapons programs, or a promise to stop deploying its existing arsenal.

North Korea has said it has closed its Punggye-ri nuclear testing site and the Sohae missile engine test facility. It also raised the possibility of shuttering more sites and allowing international inspections if Washington took “corresponding measures,” of which there has so far been no sign.

Last week, North Korea called off a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in New York, and state media said on Monday the resumption of some small-scale military drills by South Korea and the United States violated a recent agreement aimed at lowering tensions on the Korean peninsula.

The sites identified in the CSIS report are scattered in remote, mountainous areas across North Korea, and could be used to house ballistic missiles of various ranges, with the largest believed to be capable of striking anywhere in the United States.

“Missile operating bases are not launch facilities,” Bermudez wrote. “While missiles could be launched from within them in an emergency, Korean People’s Army (KPA) operational procedures call for missile launchers to disperse from the bases to pre-surveyed or semi-prepared launch sites for operations.”

None of the missile bases have been acknowledged by North Korea, and analysts say an accurate disclosure of nuclear weapons and missile capabilities would be an important part of any denuclearization deal.

Sakkanmol, the site closest to the border with South Korea and its capital Seoul, appears to be “active and being reasonably well-maintained,” the report found.

“North Korea’s decommissioning of the Sohae satellite launch facility, while gaining much media attention, obscures the military threat to U.S. forces and South Korea from this and other undeclared ballistic missile bases,” Bermudez said.

(Reporting by Josh Smith; editing by Darren Schuettler)

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Screwtape
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Screwtape

The Kims are treacherous liars, q.v. the last five administrations and BWAHAHA treaties and negotiations. China will be NO help. Start non-nuke bombing of their facilities and launch fields. Better yet, have Japan or SK do it,

PRC isn’t the only one can play proxy wars.

Michael
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Michael

Our president fundamentally does not understand the world or foreign policy and is getting played on the international stage.

banstan
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banstan

@michaelmoore, obama has not been president for 2 years. Quit complaining about the past.

Phyllis Softa
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Phyllis Softa

Obama didn’t claim he denuclearized North Korea? That was Trump. Who claimed in 2015 that the Iran deal did not denuclearize Iran,-are now backtracking that it DID shutdown Iran’s nuclear weapons program, but they JUST didn’t like the idea of cash for the loss of the contested return of Iran’s… Read more »

Screwtape
Member
Screwtape

Mikey, please explain HOW he fails to understand. It will have the benefit of displaying your own knowledge of international politics and forein policy. What are YOUR qualifications again? Watching Obozo kowtow, grovel, and apologize do not count. Any asshole, like you, can make statements like “xxx doesn’t understand yyy”.… Read more »

Phyllis Softa
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Phyllis Softa

Screw, you voted for Trump because he was not prepared. Trump bragged of not preparing.–Where is the logic behind being anti-invasion of Iraq and the very next sentence claim you want the architect of the Iraq War to be your national security adviser? If you and Trump wish to be… Read more »

Screwtape
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Screwtape

Phil, can you read my mind now? Tell me again exactly what I had for breakfast, all knowing one, and the volume of my latest bowel movement. Stop being insane. You cannot say why anyone voted the way they did except that I’ve dropped the biggest, most obvious clue. NOT… Read more »

banstan
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banstan

you think softaintheheada can tell you how many pieces of corn were there, also?

Screwtape
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Screwtape

fyi Phil, you are not prepared for public consumption and I would never vote for you.

banstan
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banstan

Take your own advice. Your holier-than-thou act has gotten quite stale here. Educated, mature adults do NOT psychoanalyze people from the comfort of their own homes with their BS Degree in Armchair Psychiatry framed on the wall, as you constantly do.

Screwtape
Member
Screwtape

banstan,Phil has ZERO credentials or credibility. Assuming / presuming to be able to do so is an arrogance very unique to the Left. 1st clue? They attempt to run the lives of others. If the Dims/Left were smarter (not) they’d understand that most people just want to lead their own… Read more »

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