13 hidden North Korean missile bases outed in new report

Clay Curtis
November 14, 2018

"We fully know about the sites being discussed, nothing new - and nothing happening out of the normal", Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

"I will be the first to let you know if things go bad!" he wrote.

"We have known for some time that North Koreans are starting to deploy and even test missiles at the unit level", said Stephan Haggard, a professor of Korea-Pacific studies at the University of California at San Diego.

The Washington DC-based CSIS' report said maintenance and minor infrastructure improvements had been observed at some of the sites despite the negotiations.

Its report could prove a sticking point for the US, whose president and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are trying to hold Mr Kim to denuclearisation promises he has made since the US-North Korea summit in Singapore in June.

The Times said the Pentagon had planned to begin deploying a new generation of small, affordable satellites to track North Korea's mobile missiles, but the programme has been held up by bureaucratic and budget disputes.

Although not designed as launch sites, the bases could be used to launch short-range as well as intercontinental ballistic missiles, according to the report.

North Korea recently warned, however, it could restart its nuclear program if the United States does not drop its campaign of "maximum pressure" and sanctions.

Trump, however, told a news conference last week that he was in "no rush" on North Korea after a senior delegation abruptly canceled a meeting planned with Pompeo in NY.

Photos by Beyond Parallel/CSIS show possible missile operating bases in North Korea.

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"The dispersed deployment of these bases and distinctive tactics employed by ballistic missile units are combined with decades of extensive camouflage, concealment and deception practices to maximize the survival of its missile units from pre-emptive strikes and during wartime operations", they said.

Satellite imagery reveals North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may not have been entirely truthful when he invited foreign journalists to witness the apparent demolition of its Punggye-ri nuclear test site.

"Any missile at these bases can take a nuclear warhead".

The South's presidential office said intelligence authorities in Seoul and Washington had already been aware of the information in the report and added the Sakkanmol base had "nothing to do with inter-continental ballistic missiles".

Kim Jong-un speaks to the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, in Pyongyang.

In the speech, however, Kim also hinted at nuclear weapons playing an important role long into the future, calling them a "powerful treasured sword for defending peace" that would "reliably guarantee" a dignified and happy life for generations of North Koreans.

There has been criticism of the way the CSIS report was portrayed in the media, especially by the New York Times, that called the findings (quote) "great deception" by the North. On Thursday, Russia called a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to take up its request for humanitarian exemptions to worldwide sanctions on Pyongyang.

Bases in the furthest, or "strategic", belt are more than 150km (93 miles) from the DMZ, and are likely to be equipped with the Hwasong class of missiles, which can reach the United States mainland, according to the report.

"As of November 2018, the base is active and being reasonably well-maintained by North Korean standards".

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