North Korea ‘rebuilding second missile site’ after failed summit with Donald Trump

Sunday, March 10, 2019

North Korea has resumed building a second missile launch site following a failed summit with the US, intelligence has suggested. 

South Korea’s intelligence service claimed there had been new activity at the Sanumdong factory near the nation’s capital of Pyongyang. The site is thought to have been the one that produced the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States.

South Korea’s intelligence service claimed there has been new activity at the Sanumdong factory near the nation’s capital of Pyongyang (Picture: AP)
Intelligence has suggested there is evidence of vehicles and cranes being moved around the site  (Picture: AP)

Pictures taken of the site on February 22 appeared to show cars, trucks and two cranes at the site.

Further ones taken on March 8 show the activity had died down and one of the cranes had disappeared.

It is believed the Sanumdong factory was developed in 2012.

Exterior pictures have never been released although North Korean state TV broadcast a space launcher inside the main production hall in 2016.

North Korea is wanting sanctions against them lifted and any new missile sites are unlikely to help their cause.

This is not the first time work has been done on the site, and Kim Jong-un was pictured inspecting completed missiles in July 2017.

However, there was no subsequent launch following the release of those images.

In 2016 a space launcher was shown inside the factory (Picture: Yonhap News)
And in July 2017 Kim Jong-un was pictured inspecting completed missiles at the facility (Picture: Yonhap News)

Michael Elleman, from the of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said he considered the conclusion North Korea is redeveloping their missile programme to be ‘speculative.’

He said: ‘In the past there have been multiple reports about activity at this place that turned out to be false alarms.

It could either be preparation for an eventual launch or not.’

Earlier this week it was reported that the Sohae Satellite Launch Facility was also being rebuilt in the wake of the high-stakes summit between the US and North Korea.

This is despite Kim Jong-un promising to dismantle the engine test sight during two summits with Donald Trump and the South Korean president last year.

Donald Trump has called the reports ‘disappointing’ following the failed summit (Picture: AFP/Getty)

North Korea has carried out satellite launches in recent years but they led to further UN sanctions after experts said they were using banned missile technology.

Speaking of the reports, Donald Trump said he would be ‘disappointed’ if Pyongyang were to resume weapons testing.

But he said he still believed in his ‘good relationship’ with Kim Jong Un despite the collapse of their second summit.

He said: ‘I would be surprised in a negative way if he did anything that was not per our understanding. But we’ll see what happens.

Last week it was reported another missile site was also being rebuilt (Picture: EPA)
However, it is not known what they are being developed for (Picture: EPA)

‘I would be very disappointed if I saw testing.’

Washington has said it is open to more talks with North Korea, but said it remains unclear when the two sides might meet again.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday he was hopeful he would send a delegation to North Korea for more talks in the next couple of weeks, but had received ‘no commitment yet.’

The senior State Department official who briefed reporters on Thursday declined to say whether there had been direct contact between the sides since the summit.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the official added: ‘There will necessarily need to be a period of reflection here. Both sides are going to have to digest the outcome to the summit.

‘Fundamentally, where we really need to see the progress, and we need to see it soon, is on meaningful and verifiable steps on denuclearization.’

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