In an important first step towards fulfilling a commitment made by Kim Jong Un at the June 12 Singapore Summit, new commercial satellite imagery of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station (North Korea’s main satellite launch facility since 2012) indicates that the North has begun dismantling key facilities.
New commercial satellite imagery of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station indicates that the #DPRK has begun dismantling key facilities, including the rail-mounted processing building and and the nearby rocket engine test stand.https://t.co/ffdQ23QaWG
— 38 North (@38NorthNK) July 23, 2018
According to an analysis of satellite imagery of the location by the North Korea-focused 38 North website— between July 20 and 22–the North Korean government appeared to be dismantling the Sohae launch site.
Fox News reports,
Some facilities on the site were either razed or taken apart. The facilities included a rocket engine test stand, which is used to develop liquid-fuel engines for ballistic missiles. Another facility was identified as a space-launch vehicles and a rail-mounted processing building.
“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,” analyst Joseph Bermudez wrote in the 38 North report.
Bermudez said the satellite images indicate that Pyongyang took “an important first step toward fulfilling a commitment made by Kim Jong-un.”
South Korean officials have also said they detected dismantlement activities at the site, though didn’t specify the exact nature of the activities.
The supposed dismantlement of the site comes after Trump and Kim signed an agreement to work towards the goal of “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
Trump said last month after the summit that the North has already started “destroying a major missile engine testing site.” The president didn’t identify the exact site, sparking speculations that North Korea may not be transparent about its activities.
Media reports in recent days also claimed that Trump was frustrated by the lack of progress made by North Korea in its denuclearization efforts, the New York Timesreported. The president fired back on Monday, saying he’s “very happy” with how the North has been honoring the commitments made at the summit.
A Rocket has not been launched by North Korea in 9 months. Likewise, no Nuclear Tests. Japan is happy, all of Asia is happy. But the Fake News is saying, without ever asking me (always anonymous sources), that I am angry because it is not going fast enough. Wrong, very happy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2018
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