Published: Tue, July 31, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

U.S. detects new activity at North Korea factory that built ICBMs

U.S. detects new activity at North Korea factory that built ICBMs

Immediately after meeting with Kim, Trump assured the world that "there is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea."

What did the report say?

Just last week, satellite images emerged that appeared to show North Korea dismantling a key Sohae satellite launching station. The Hwasong-15 is North Korea's longest-range ballistic missile, capable of carrying a large payload to likely all of the contiguous United States.

"There are chance encounters, there are sometimes planned encounters - but we're not there yet for any announcement", the official said.

Mr Pompeo, who visited North Korea, earlier this month for denuclearisation talks, had invited furore from Pyongyang, which later expressed its disappointment over the attitude of U.S. officials on denuclearisation, calling it "regrettable and really disappointing".

US spy agencies suspect that North Korea is building new missiles in the same research facility that manufactured the country's first ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States.

According to The Washington Post, the officials cited satellite images that purportedly show activity at the Sanumdong military facility.

Relations between the U.S. and North Korea appeared cordial recently, after Kim sent the remains of United States troops who died during the Korean War.

Imagery from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency suggests ongoing work on at least one Hwasong-15 ICBM at the Sanumdong plant, the Post said.

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In addition to USA agencies, independent missile experts also reported observing activity consistent with missile construction at the Sanumdong factory, such as the daily movement of supply trucks and other vehicles.

"We see them going to work, just as before", said one USA official, who, like the others, spoke on the condition of anonymity in discussing sensitive intelligence.

But at their landmark meeting in Singapore, Mr Trump and Mr Kim agreed to work towards the "complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula".

Last year, however, The Diplomat reported that Pyongyang had test-fired a new solid-fuel motor that could be used to upgrade earlier liquid-fueled missiles.

Last week, it appeared North Korea had begun dismantling part of a key rocket launch site, but according to recent reports based on U.S. intelligence leaks, Pyongyang might still secretly be continuing its nuclear weapons programme.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said North Korea is still producing fuel for nuclear bombs despite pledges to give up its nuclear program.

Fissile material refers to either uranium highly enriched in the uranium-235 isotope or plutonium-239, both of which are suitable for use in nuclear weapons.

There have also been reports that North Korea is operating a uranium enrichment facility in secret.

The U.S., he added, has "to know what they have before talking about caps and arms control".

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