North Korea Reportedly Rebuilding Structures at Rocket Launch Area

North Korea

President Donald Trump said on Wednesday (March 6) he would be "very, very disappointed" with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if reports that work is underway to rebuild a long-range rocket site are confirmed.

Trump said Kim told him that North Korea would continue to suspend nuclear and missile tests while negotiations are underway, and South Korea and the USA announced Sunday that they are eliminating massive springtime military drills and replacing them with smaller exercises in an effort to support the talks. Both the launch pad and engine test stand were in about the same condition since last August, according to the 38 North report. This could suggest that North Korea was confirming the Tongchang-ri site is a nuclear-related center.

"North Korea is pursuing the "rapid rebuilding" of the long-range rocket site at Sohae Launch Facility, according to new commercial imagery and an analysis from the researchers at Beyond Parallel", NBC reported.

On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that even though there was "no commitment" from the North Koreans yet, he was "hopeful" that "we will be back at it, that I'll have a team in Pyongyang in the next couple weeks continuing to work to find those places where there is shared interest".

He also said that it was "too early to see" what exactly was going on in North Korea.

At the engine test stand, the website said it appears that the engine support structure is being reassembled.

"It's unfortunate because this was one of the unilateral steps that the North Koreans were making at the beginning of the negotiation process as sort of a confidence-building measure, and so certainly this does have implications for how the North Koreans are thinking about the negotiation process", Town said.

North Korea
CSIS via Digital Gobe Sohae Launch Facility in North Korea

The IAEA has repeatedly said it is ready to play a verification role in North Korea once a political agreement is reached on the country's nuclear activities.

But CSIS said building activity is now "evident" at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, from where Pyongyang launched satellites in 2012 and 2016.

North Korea says its satellite program is peaceful.

But many outside experts say ballistic missiles and rockets used in satellite launches share similar bodies, engines and other technology. They say satellite images show the structures were rebuilt over the past month.

After carrying out the third of its three ICBM launches in late 2017, North Korea claimed to be able to attack the mainland United States with nuclear-armed missiles.

Channel News Asia on Wednesday quoted a US government source who said the work performed at Sohae "did not seem particularly alarming, and certainly not on a scale of resuming missile tests that have been suspended since 2017". -North Korea negotiations previous year. "The U.S. government believes there are at least two additional enrichment (facilities)", he said.

In a statement, the two men described the move as part of a larger effort to make the Korean peninsula free from nuclear weapons.

Trump Links Michael Cohen Testimony To His North Korea Summit Failure
Some of Trump's closest allies similarly criticized Democrats for holding a hearing with Cohen while the president was overseas. Asked whether that was his view, too, Bolton replied: "The president's view is he gave nothing away".

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