US officials: North Korea is developing new missiles
According to some US spy agencies, it appears that North Korea is working on new ballistic missiles, despite what was being discussed at the Singapore summit.
Some unnamed US officials said in an interview to the Washington Post that spy satellites had noticed that a site located in North Korea didn’t cease its activity on producing ballistic missiles. One of the officials claims that they don’t know yet how far this project has gone, according to the Reuters news agency.
The US president Donald Trump and leader Kim Jong-un met in June in Singapore in order to discuss this aspect and the whole world watched the summit between the two and discussed it.
The first meeting came to a long-awaited conclusion: that the two countries would work towards denuclearization. Hours after the meeting, Donald Trump declared that North Korea was “no longer a nuclear threat”. But even so, he did not engage in securing a firm commitment from North Korea’s leader in order to put an end to the missile and nuclear programs.
Here’s what the latest reports indicate
On Monday, July 30th, the Washington Post newspaper said that according to the officials, North Korea was still working on a missile project, trying to build new liquid-fueled ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) at the Sanumdong facility located in the vicinity of the capital, Pyongyang.
The thing is that this facility was also the place where the Hwasong-15, the first North Korea ICBM able to reach the American continent, was produced.
In an interview they gave to the news agency Reuters, one of the US officials claimed that there’s a big difference between the liquid-fueled ICBM and the solid-fueled ICBM, as the former one doesn’t “pose nearly the threat that a solid-fueled one would because they take so long to fuel.” Additionally, even though the satellite imaging illustrated various vehicles that were moving in and out of the factory, there was no clear proof of any missile construction.
However, Jeffrey Lewis, who is a nuclear expert at the MIIS (Middlebury Institute of International Studies), said in an interview to the Washington Post that the satellite imaging showed that the Sanumdong facility is still “active”.
“[The facility] is not dead, by any stretch of the imagination,” he mentioned. “We see shipping containers and vehicles coming and going. This is a facility where they build ICBMs and space-launch vehicles.”
The Kim-Trump summit in Singapore
Up until now, North Korea has carried out no less than six nuclear tests and the most recent one occurred in September 2017. The missile program has developed rapidly in the past two years.
The Singapore summit was supposed to bring “peace” between the two countries: the US and North Korea, as Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un agreed to work together towards “the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
Nevertheless, ever since the end of the summit, it has been unclear what both Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim meant by “complete denuclearization” or how was this supposed to be verified afterwards.