North Korea begins dismantling rocket test site

North Korea economy
US-Led Sanctions Still Crippling North Korea’s Economy Author The Australian Tribune with RAW 23/07/201

24 July, 2018

"This could (and that's a big could) mean that North Korea is also willing to forgo satellite launches for the time being as well as nuclear and missile tests".

"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", it said in a report.

"The fact of the matter is that a year ago, on President Trump's watch, North Korea made significant advances in its ballistic missile technology, achieving what many experts agree is a nuclear-capable operational ICBM", Menendez added.

"Wrong, very happy!" he said in the Tweet.

Trump did not identify the site, but a USA official subsequently told Reuters that it was Sohae.

According to Yonhap, the North is growing frustrated with what it sees as a lack of progress towards a peace agreement.

The images published by 38 North, a US-based website focused on North Korea that is affiliated with the Stimson Centre in Washington, were taken by the commercial companies Digital Globe and Airbus Defence and Space on July 20 and July 22, respectively.

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And while Monday's images may amount to a "confidence building measure" by the North Koreans, it appears that they expect the U.S. to reciprocate if talks are to continue.

Separately, images show activity around a vertical engine test stand at Sohae.

United Nations special rapporteur on human rights North Korea, Tomás Ojea Quintana, said earlier this month that if the women had been taken to South Korea unwillingly "that is considered the crime".

Scholte, a veteran observer of the Korean Peninsula, also said she's hopeful because North Korea's usual escalation of anti-U.S. propaganda between the Korean War anniversary June 25, and July 27, the anniversary of the war's Armistice, has not occurred.

Satellite images of the Sohae station seen by US-based monitoring group 38 North suggest Pyongyang is complying with a promise made to the U.S. in June.

Critics of the Singapore deal claim the document lacks specifics and does not tie North Korea to a firm timetable on denuclearization or giving up its current nuclear weapons. Analysts have cautioned that these steps need verification. United States intelligence officials said last month that Pyongyang was working to hide key aspects of its nuclear programme.

After Pompeo visited Pyongyang earlier this month, the North Korean foreign ministry issued a statement in which it accused Washington of not doing enough to build lasting peace on the Peninsula.

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