North Korea Is Actually Dismantling a Key Nuclear Test Site - Leah Barkoukis

Source N. Korea seeking 'bold move' from US

An official said on Tuesday South Korea's presidential Blue House was briefed about the site's dismantlement based on government intelligence but did not elaborate.

New commercial satellite imagery of the Sohae station indicates that the North has begun dismantling key facilities, the 38 North said in a report.

The dismantling work probably began sometime within the last two weeks, he said. "As (Kim Jong Un) said himself, North Korea is moving from testing to mass production", she said, adding that observers should look for signs of new sites where more missiles could be built.

The US-based monitoring group 38 North analysed images of the Sohae Satellite Launch Station, concluding that two key features are being dismantled. "North Korea seems to be investing in the mutual confidence building process, which is not insignificant".

"A Rocket has not been launched by North Korea in 9 months".

No work has been reported at any of the other sites so far, which include the Chamjin Machine Factory test stand, Iha-ri Driver Training and Test Facility test stand, Magunpo Solid Rocket Motor Test Facility, Nampo Shipyard submersible test stand barge, Sinpo South Shipyard submersible test stand barge, Sinpo South Shipyard test stand, and Tonghae (Musudan-ri) Satellite Launch Facility.

The diplomatic offensive has tamped down tensions after fears of nuclear war rose previous year as the communist state demonstrated strong advances with a series of missile launches and its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

SOHAE SATELLITE LAUNCH PAD NORTH KOREA- JULY 20 2018 Figure 1. By July 20 dismantlement had begun of the rail-mounted transfer structure on the Sohae launch pad. Mandatory credit for all images DigitalGlobe/38 North via Getty Images

"We may see progress in North Korea's denuclearization. Japan is happy, all of Asia is happy", he tweeted earlier in the day. But the Fake News is saying, without ever asking me (always anonymous sources), that I am angry because it is not going fast enough.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met in Pyongyang recently with North Korean officials to try advance discussions, but there appeared to be little progress.

Instead, Schoff suggested the US could reciprocate by working with Seoul, Beijing, Tokyo and Moscow to approve some economic engagement exemptions for South Korea to work with the North in certain special economic zones.

A South Korean delegation that traveled to NY over the past weekend said Seoul needed to be exempted from some worldwide sanctions against the North to implement the Panmunjom Declaration.

Since the June 12 summit, the president said the North Korea nuclear threat is over and that North Korea would destroy another missile site after his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Melissa Hanham, senior research associate with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, said that while dismantling the engine test site was a "good move", it amounted to "the bare minimum" that could be done at Sohae. United States intelligence officials said last month that Pyongyang was working to hide key aspects of its nuclear programme.

Kim in late 2017 declared his nuclear weapons and missile program was complete, following a torrent of nuclear and missile tests that include the detonation of a purported thermonuclear warhead and flight tests of three developmental ICBMs potentially capable of reaching the USA mainland.

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