US Aware of All North Korea Nuclear Work, Trump Says Despite Report

Pauline Gross
November 15, 2018

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The reason for this, experts said, is that the agreement signed by Kim and President Donald Trump in June was so vague that it did not bind North Korea to do anything at all - let alone to give up the location of its secret bases.

Bases for strategic weapons such as intercontinental ballistic missiles - whose development is the subject of sanctions - are located deep inside the country.

North Korea continues to secretly develop its nuclear weapons programme despite months of talks with the USA, according to a report released by a Washington-based think tank. The researchers at the Washington think tank said they believe there are at least another seven they haven't yet found.

This image, provided by Yonhap News TV, shows U.S. President Donald Trump.

The controversy is not over the CSIS report itself but how it has been characterized in the media.

In a separate report released this week, CSIS said: "After extensive research, including interviews with North Korean defectors and government, defence and intelligence officials around the world, many of these issues have been addressed and it appears that the KPA now has approximately 15-20 missile operating bases".

The report identified about 15 to 20 bases being operated by the Korean People's Army's Strategic Force, based on information from officials in the government, defense and intelligence agencies and North Korean defectors.

CSIS expert Victor Cha, who was a top adviser to former president George W. Bush, said the report underscored the risk of Trump accepting a "bad deal" in which North Korea only dismantles its most visible weapons infrastructure.

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The bases are scattered across the country in underground facilities tunneled in narrow mountain valleys, according to the CSIS researchers, and designed for mobile missile launchers to quickly exit and move to previously prepared launch sites.

Sigal noted that the original report even mentioned that "the Sakkanmol Missile Operating Base and 15 others have always been observed by USA intelligence, 13 of them by Bermudez himself".

The report was released less than a week after North Korea abruptly called off a new round of negotiations with Pompeo that had been set for Thursday in NY. The spokesman, Kim Eui-keum, said that Pyongyang had never agreed to shut down its short-range missile bases. South Korean and USA military authorities believe the North will target strategic locations occupied by Korean and US troops and urban communities through scuds and short-range missiles. "It was a loosely worded joint agreement". "There is an equally major gap on the issue of sanctions, with [North Korea] pushing for the remove sanctions in order to improve relations and build confidence between the two sides, and the United States making clear that sanctions easing will not happen unless and until North Korea verifiably denuclearizes". His negotiators, the argument goes, are continuing talks with the US and South Korea in the hope of getting other concessions along the way.

In other words, North Korea's missiles and nuclear warheads are not going anywhere, anytime soon.

In his new-year's address this January, the young dictator Kim offered a different explanation.

Asked about the report, Trump's national security adviser John Bolton told reporters in Singapore on November 13 that Trump "has given North Korea an incredible opportunity to walk through a door to a different future if they denuclearize ... but they still need to do that".

In April, ahead of his meeting with Trump, Kim told a gathering of ruling party leadership the nuclear arsenal represented a "great victory" and announced there was no need for further tests of nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles.

Others say the pressure is now on the Kim regime and that a failure to produce real results will prove only that the regime was never serious. If Kim feels "betrayed" by the release of this report, it could be the sort of excuse he's been wating for to walk away from negotiations with the United States as I've suggested in the past he might do.

Other reports by GizPress

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