US Secretary of State has been to North Korea multiple times, US President Donald Trump wants a second meeting with Kim Jong-un, South Korea’s President has been photographed holding hands with his Northern counterpart, all in the effort to contain Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme.
But new reports released by Beyond Parallel, a programme at the Center for Strategic and International Studies say they have located 13 sites of an estimated 20 sites that are active ballistic missile operating bases. The report uses the help of commercial satellite imagery to identify these sites.
“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.
The revelation of these sites is significant because the U.S. has been working on Pyongyang to curb its nuclear and ballistic missile programme. Due to North Korea’s alienation there is very little factual information of its military operational sites.
Beyond Parallel explains that the missile bases identified are not launch facilities but it says, “While missiles could be launched from within them in an emergency, Korean People’s Army (KPA) operational procedures call for missile launchers to disperse from the bases to pre-surveyed or semi-prepared launch sites for operations.”
The Singapore declaration made at the June 12 meeting this year reportedly said that North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme will be halted and eventually ended in return for bringing Pyongyang into the global fold. But, the way the negotiations have moved since then it is obvious that North Korea is not willing to give up its entire nuclear and ballistic missile programme.
North Korea’s method of operating under a shroud of secrecy means that it will take years for the U.S. to be sure of the scale of Pyongyang’s programme. This report by Beyond Parallel just days after North Korea called off a new round of negotiations with Pompeo that had been scheduled for Thursday in New York.
North Korea is reportedly unhappy with the lack of lifting of sanctions since negotiations began and has not been satisfied with just the halt of the military exercises.