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North Korea still works with its ballistic missile program, US officials say

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By Ken Dilanian, Courtney Cube and Andrea Mitchell


1; North Korea continues the work of its ballistic missile program, informed US officials about the latest information, says NBC News, confirms the bulk of a private report on Monday with detailed improvements made to undeclared military sites.

A separate analysis from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, given exclusively to NBC News, describes a secret military base deep in North Korea’s interior that analysts believe could accommodate missiles that can reach the United States.

US Defense Trustees emphasized that they consider it a positive development that North Korea has not conducted a nuclear test since September 2017.

“North Korea still has its ballistic missile program on a number of bases but it is important that they have not tested one almost one year, says an official. “We must give the diplomats time and space to work.”

Nevertheless, the latest information and private satellite images of work on undeclared missile sites underscore the widespread belief among experts that President Donald Trump’s statement that The world no longer has to worry about a North Korean nuclear program differs from reality.

“It seems like it’s a political charade, and it’s a dangerous one,” retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey told NBC News. ” In the short term, North Korea is the most imminent threat to US national security we face …. They have nuclear weapons they are laughing at veran system, they will not be nuclearized. So I think the result of all this is that we solve the economic constraints for these people and we are kidding ourselves. “

The private report was released on Monday, the researchers said that 13 identified estimated undeclared North Korean missile bases and included a detailed analysis of a Sakkanmol missile operation site, about 50 miles north of the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea.

The report was drafted by a group called Beyond Parallel, a program at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies. It was led by Victor Cha, a former diplomat, whom the Trump Administration considered to be an ambassador to South Korea but could not embark on Trumps approach.

Separate Jeffrey Lewis, Head of East Asia Non-Proliferation Program at James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, gave NBC News with its group’s analysis of one of the most important facilities, near Yeongjeo-dong, deep in North Korea and stretches to the Chinese border. [1 9659007] The location makes it a strong candidate to base North Korea’s longest missile missiles, Lewis has arrived. The site has been identified by defects, but Lewis found it on satellite images and observed work that lasted there for as long as last year.

“The Yeongjeo-dong missile facility remains an active military base with a number of cured and underground structures for launching ballistic missiles,” Lewis wrote. While a defendant said it was built to accommodate medium-sized Nodong missiles, “other evidence suggests that the site was designed to accommodate long distance missiles that would have to be rolled out of tunnels, constructed and launched.”

After drumming, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met at a historic summit in Singapore in June, North Korea did not agree to stop working on his core program. Instead, Kim signed a vague declaration that agreed to work against full nuclear power in the Korean Peninsula, “a phrase like

State Secretary Mike Pompeo said last month that a second summit between the two leaders would be planned as part of diplomatic talks as The United States intelligence officials, including CIA leader Gina Haspel, have expressed public skepticism about the North’s willingness to give up their weapons.

Secretary Mike Pompeo and North Korea’s leader Kim Yo Jong are watching as President Donald J. Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un sign a document at its historic summit in North Korea and the USA at Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island, Singapore, June 12, 2018. Kevin Lim / EPA file

Answered questions after a speech in Louisville in September, Haspel noted that Kim Jong Un’s government shows nuclear weapons as “necessary for the survival of their regime”.

Trump, in a June tweet, declared that “there is no longer a nuclear hazard from North Korea”, a view not shared by any of his highest national security officers or the US intelligence community.

NBC News reported in June that US intelligence services had discovered that North Korea has increased its nuclear fuel production in several secret locations, despite Trump and Kim meeting – and that Kim would attempt to conceal these facilities when trying to remove concessions in nuclear talks with the Trump administration.

Washington Post confirmed that story and reported that the inquiry bodies had concluded that North Korea “does not intend to completely give up its nuclear stock and instead considers ways to conceal the number of weapons and secret production facilities.”

North Korea has offered to dismantle a missile site, although it has improved other places in full view of US spy satellites, which underlines the regime’s continued work on its missile programs, officials say NBC News. Experts also say they have no reason to believe North Korea has stopped production of nuclear fuel. The Nordic countries already have as many as 60 nuclear bombs, suggesting intelligence estimates.

A digital world image depicted on March 29, 2018 shows what Washington, DC-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) In addition to parallel project reports, a black missile operation base in Sakkanmol, North Korea. It was provided to Reuters on November 12, 2018. CSIS / Beyond Parallel / DigitalGlobe 2018 via Reuters

But Trump continues to propose without proof that he solves North Korea’s problems.

“The sanctions are on,” said Trump at a press conference last week. “The missiles have stopped, the rockets have stopped. The hostages are at home.”

Experts say, however, that the global sanctions regime in North Korea has weakened in recent months, partly because Russia and China have intensified trade with North Korea.

Many observers claim that Trump has been played by Kim.

A digital world image depicted on March 29, 2018 shows what Washington, DC-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) In addition to parallel project reports, an undeclared missile operation base in Sakkanmol, North Korea. The image was submitted to Reuters on November 12, 2018. CSIS / Beyond Parallel / DigitalGlobe 2018 via Reuters

“Kim did not pull Trump.” Trump hugged himself tweeted Jeffrey Lewis, a gun control expert who is studying North Korea immediately.

“Kim lost the legitimacy that the leader of the free world gave the dictator a terrible state and has not even provided a list of his nuclear weapons, missiles and facilities, even less to get rid of them, “said Ivan Eland, a leading colleague at the Independent Institute, a tanker from California.

” As there is no viable military option to remove North Korea’s missiles and nuclear arenas, “says Eland, in the end, the United States will need to use its superior nuclear arsenal to deter an attack from a nuclear weapon North Korea – as it has successfully done with more formidable nuclear enemies, such as the Soviet Union, Russia and China. Ken Dilanian

Courtney Kube is a national security and military reporter for NBC News, covering the Pentagon, US military operations worldwide, and intelligence and national security issues.

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