Satellite images reveal activity at North Korean rocket facility

10 March, 2019, 21:47 | Author: Emmett Rice
  • North Korea tested a new rocket at the Sohae facility in March 2017

A senior State Department official told reporters on Thursday that Washington was keen to resume talks as soon as possible, but North Korea's negotiators needed to be given more latitude than they were ahead of the summit.

The Chosun Ilbo newspaper has also reported that South Korea's National Intelligence Service told lawmakers that it detected signs of North Korea restoring part of the Tongchang-ri missile launch site it tore down in July.

A South Korean defense spokeswoman says the US and South Korea are sharing intelligence about the activity at a missile research center on the outskirts of Pyongyang and at a separate long-range rocket site. She did not elaborate on what the developments were. "But we'll see what happens", Trump told reporters.

Without elaborating, Mr Trump said: "We'll let you know in about a year".

Briefing reporters at the State Department later, a senior USA official said that despite the new activity and the failure of last month's Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi to reach a denuclearization deal, the administration still believes it can reach and implement an agreement by the end of the president's first term. Unless re-elected, Trump's term will end in January 2021.

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton on Tuesday said that North Korea could be subjected to even tougher sanctions if the country doesn't fully give up its nuclear weapons program.

The official, who did not want to be identified, said the USA side still saw North Korea's complete denuclearization as achievable within Trump's current term, which ends in January 2021.

A much anticipated meeting between the two leaders in the Vietnamese capital last week ended without a deal over differences in how much North Korea was willing to limit its nuclear programme before it was granted some sanction relief.

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South Korea and the United States signed a deal on Friday that would increase Seoul's financial contribution for the deployment of US troops in the Asian country.

Meanwhile, a US -based think tank has said it appears the North is rebuilding its ballistic missile test facility, which it had partially dismantled.

President Moon Jae-in has replaced his unification minister who played a major role in last year's detente with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), his office said on Friday, and named a longtime confidant to lead Moon's drive for "a new Korean peninsula".

The BBC's Seoul correspondent Laura Bicker says that North Korea might be testing the USA after talks in Hanoi between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un broke down, hoping that the U.S. will offer a better deal to avoid a launch.

Former President Jimmy Carter has reportedly offered to travel to North Korea if the Trump administration asks for his assistance in breaking the stalled nuclear talks.

"It's a very early report".

"We have a lot of ways of getting information", he said.

The 38 North study said the North appears to have also finished rebuilding a rail-mounted transfer structure at the launch pad and that the structure may now be operational.

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