U.S. Secret agents are seeing signs that North Korea is building new missiles in a factory producing the first ICBMs capable of reaching the United States, according to officials familiar with the intelligence services.
New evidence, including recorded satellite images. Emagazine.credit-suisse.com/app/art … = 120 & lang = DE In recent weeks, it has been known that in a large research facility in Sanumdong on the outskirts Pyongyang will work on at least one and possibly two LPG-operated LPGs.
The results are the latest in showing that North Korea's nuclear and missile facilities remain active at a time when country leaders are in arms talks with the United States. The new message does not suggest an expansion of North Korea's capabilities, but shows that work on advanced weapons continues a few weeks after President Trump posted in a Twitter post that Pyongyang is "no longer a nuclear threat".
Reports of the construction of new rockets date from recent revelations about a suspected uranium enrichment facility called Kangson, which secretly operates North Korea. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed at the Senate hearing last week that North Korean factories are "continuing to produce fissile material" used to manufacture nuclear weapons. He declined to say if Pyongyang is building new missiles.
During a meeting with Trump in June, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to a vague promise to work towards the "denuclearization" of the Korean peninsula. But since then, North Korea has taken barely tangible steps pointing to a disarmament plan. Instead, high-ranking North Korean officials have debated their intention to dismiss Washington over the number of nuclear warheads and missiles they have, as well as the types and numbers of facilities, and international inspectors, according to findings by US authorities. Their strategy may include the claim that they have completely denuclearized by declaring and disposing of 20 warheads while holding back dozens more.
The Sanumdong factory has produced two of North Korea's ICBMs, including the powerful Hwasong-15, the first with a proven range that could allow it to hit the US East Coast. The new evidence points to ongoing work on at least one Hwasong-15 at the Sanumdong plant, which has been collected by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency in recent weeks.
"We see them going to work just as before," said a US official.
The exception, according to the officials, is the Sohae Satellite Launching Station on the West Coast of North Korea, where workers can be seen how to mine an engine test bench to fulfill a promise to Trump 19659010] A satellite image of a building on May 28, which, according to US analysts, is a secret uranium enrichment facility near the North Korean capital. (Planet / James Martin Center for Non-Proliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies)
Many analysts and independent experts, however, view this degradation as largely symbolic, as North Korea has successfully launched ICBMs using the type of liquid fuel engines tested at Sohae. In addition, the test bench could become lightweight within months be reconstructed.
Despite the findings from the intelligence service, independent sources reported Rocket experts this week also heard of observations associated with rocket construction at the Sanumdong plant. The daily movement of utility vehicles and other vehicles, as seen on commercial satellite photos, shows that the missile facility is "far from dead," said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Non-Proliferation Studies Center. The nonprofit group Monterey, California, analyzed commercial photos obtained from the satellite imagery agency Planet.
"It's active, we see containers and vehicles coming and going," Lewis said of the plant in Sanumdong. "This is a facility where they build intercontinental ballistic missiles and launchers."
Interestingly, a picture of July 7 shows a bright red covered trailer in a cargo area. The trailer seems to be identical to the one used by North Korea in the past for intercontinental ballistic missile transport. How the trailer was used at the time of shooting is unclear.
Lewis & # 39; Group also published pictures of a large industrial plant that some US intelligence analysts hold for the uranium enrichment plant in Kangson. The pictures, first published by the online publication "Diplomat", show a building in the football field surrounded by a high wall in the North Korean district of Chollima-Guyok, southwest of the capital. The complex has a single, guarded entrance and has high-rise residential towers that are apparently used by workers.
Historical satellite photos show that the facility was completed in 2003 externally. US intelligence agencies believe it has been in operation for at least a decade. If that is the case, North Korea's enriched uranium supply could be much larger than commonly thought. US intelligence agencies have raised their estimates of the size of North Korea's nuclear arsenal in recent months, with enriched uranium being considered by at least one secret enrichment agency.
Several US officials and private analysts said continued activity in North Korea's weapons complex was not surprising, as Kim did not publicly announce promises at the summit to halt work on the numerous nuclear and missile facilities scattered throughout the country
The North Koreans "have never agreed to abandon their nuclear program," said Ken Gause, a North Korea expert of the naval analysis center. And it was foolish to expect that they would do so at the beginning of the talks, he said.
"The survival of the regime and the continuation of Kim family rule" are Kim's guiding principles, he said. "The nuclear program deters them from regime change by the US The abandonment of nuclear capabilities will violate the two fundamental centers of gravity of the North Korean regime."
Pompeo tried last week at the Senate hearing to assure legislators that the disarmament talks with North Korea and that efforts are continuing to disassemble the country's nuclear arsenal has just begun. He dismissed suggestions that Kim's administration had been betrayed. "We have not been taken," he said.
But some independent analysts believe that the Trump administration misunderstood Kim's intentions and interprets his commitment to possible denuclearization as a promise to promptly surrender the country's nuclear arsenal and dismantle its weapons factories.
"We have this backwards – North Korea is not negotiating the abandonment of nuclear weapons," Lewis said. "They are negotiating the recognition of their nuclear weapons, they are ready to accept certain limits, such as no nuclear tests and no ICBM tests, what they offer is they keep the bomb, but they stop talking about it . "