Mike Pompeo and North Korea's former spy chief have begun a meeting to end their efforts to end the isolated country's nuclear weapons program by organizing a second summit meeting to resume between President Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un. (January 18th)
SEOUL researchers have discovered another base for secret ballistic missiles in North Korea, one of an estimated 20 that the Communist state has failed to explain.
The base, Sino-ri, was revealed in a report released Monday by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington DC-based think tank.
It is located 132 miles north of the demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea, and "a nuclear or nuclear power plant" offers conventional first strike capability against targets located throughout the Korean Peninsula as well as in most parts of Japan , "States the report.
The CSIS reported the existence of 13 of the 20 undeclared missile bases in November. The newly identified Sino-ri facility is one of the oldest facilities used after Monday's report for the first deployments of Pyongyang's Scud missiles and their medium-sized ballistic missile Nodong.
The base could also play a role in the development of the medium-sized ballistic missile Pukkuksong-2 (KN-15), which was first tested in February 2017 and can carry a nuclear warhead.
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The report comes a few days after the announcement of the White House that a second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un should be held at the end of February.
Trump told reporters Saturday that "things are going very well with North Korea, and that Washington and Pyongyang have made great strides in denuclearization."
Published on November 29, 2017, and published on November 30, 2017 by North Korean official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), showing the launch of Hwasong -15 rocket capable of reaching all parts of the United States. [Photo:KCNAVIAKNSAFP/GettyImages)
According to several media reports, the summit is expected to be held in Vietnam, with both the capital, Hanoi, and the coastal city of Danang being touted as possible host sites.
Trump has downplayed the threat posed by North Korea in tweets and statements dating back to his first summit with Kim last June in Singapore. After the meeting, Trump tweeted that "everyone can feel much safer now" and that "there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea."
However, a Pentagon report released Thursday said that North Korea's missile and nuclear program continued to represent an "exceptional threat" to the United States, warning the US, despite continued diplomatic engagement with the US North "must remain vigilant".
The CSIS report also indicates that despite gestures such as the decommissioning of the Sohae satellite launch facility in July and August, North Korea does little has undertaken to restrict its nuclear and missile programs.
This action caught the attention of the media, but it "hides the military threat to US forces and South Korea from [Sino-ri] and other undeclared ballistic missile bases," the report said.
North Korea also demonstrated Punggye-ri nuclear test site in May, though international inspectors were not allowed to visit the site.
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Trump-Kim's first summit made a vague statement that North Korea would work towards "complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula." However, the US and North Korea were at a dead end as to how to proceed and the second summit will attempt to find a way forward.
Pyongyang was looking for concessions such as the facilitation of the punishment international sanctions in return for steps he had already taken, while Washington had initially pushed for complete denuclearization.
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said last week that Washington and Seoul had discussed "appropriate measures" that could be taken in response to the progress of the north in denuclearization. Incentives could include an official statement at the end of the Korean War from 1950 to 1953, humanitarian aid and a communication channel with the United States.
The CSIS report argues that any denuclearization agreement should include the declaration, review and accession of the North Korean rocket base.
"While diplomacy is crucial and should be the primary path to solving the North Korean nuclear problem, all future agreements must take into account all operational missile base facilities that pose a threat to US and South Korean security," the report said.
Victor Cha former director of Asian Affairs at the National Security Council of the White House tweeted "Existing * Capabilities" "Not just past or future, you can not" swing "the next summit. "
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