CSIS/Beyond Parallel/DigitalGlobe 2019 via REUTERS
- Satellite images taken on March 2 show North Korea rebuilding its long-range missile test site in Sohae, analysts say.
- The images were taken days after a summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump ended in failure.
- North Korea started taking the site apart after Trump and Kim met in Singapore last year.
- Analysts have suggested that some rebuilding was already underway before the summit.
- White House national security adviser John Bolton on Tuesday night said North Korea could face harsher sanctions if there is no progress on denuclearization.
Satellite images taken just after the collapse of last week’s summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un show North Korea rebuilding a long-range missile site it pledged to dismantle, experts say.
Photographs from March 2, two days after Trump’s meeting with Kim ended without them reaching a hoped-for agreement on the denuclearization of North Korea.
They show North Korean rapidly rebuilding its long-range rocket site at Sohae, according to analysts from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
Previously, the Tongchang-ri facility had been used for satellite launches using missile technology North Korea is banned from using by the UN, the analysts said.
REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/File Photo
A South Korean lawmaker who was present at a closed-door briefing by South Korean intelligence Tuesday told the Associated Press that the structures being restored at the site include roofs and building doors.
The lawmaker said that National Intelligence Service director Suh Hoon told them that the North Korea could be preparing to restart long-range missile tests if talks with Washington conclusively collapse.
He suggested that another possibility is that the site could be dramatically blown up in a display of commitment to denuclearisation if talks with the US result in a deal.
Following an agreement reached at last June’s Singapore summit between Trump and Kim, North Korea had begun to dismantle the facility, and it had been dormant since last August, experts say.
According to the monitoring website 38 North efforts to rebuild structures at the site began at some point between February 16 and March 2. Trump’s summit with Kim began on February 27.
Its experts say the images show the rail-mounted processing building, where launch vehicles are worked on before being moved to the launch pad, are being rebuilt.
The also claimed to identify support cranes, new roofs and an engine support structure being developed at the test stand.
In a Fox News interview Tuesday night, White House national security adviser John Bolton warned that new sanctions could be imposed on North Korea if there is no further commitment to denuclearisation.
"If they’re not willing to do it, then I think President Trump has been very clear.
"They’re not going to get relief from the crushing economic sanctions that have been imposed on them and we’ll look at ramping those sanctions up in fact."
Sanctions on North Korea are already extremely restrictive, but experts at the conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation believe there is room for tougher measures to be imposed on Chinese financial entities accused of aiding North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.
The Council on Foreign Relations has argued that the existing sanctions regime requires bettter enforcement if it is to be effective.
- Kim Jong Un returned to a hero’s welcome in North Korea after a 2-day, 2,000-mile train ride home from his summit with Trump
- North Korean media are ignoring the fact that Kim and Trump’s summit ended in failure
- In a speech 2 months ago, Kim Jong Un hinted at military escalation if Trump doesn’t give him the sanctions relief he demanded