North Korea: Spy images pick up 'new activity' at missile site

North Korean waitress at a restaurant in Dandong – not one of the women who defected

North Korean waitress at a restaurant in Dandong – not one of the women who defected

An anonymous senior U.S. official said spy satellites had detected renewed activity at the North Korean factory that produced the country's first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States.

The Washington Post spoke to multiple intelligence officials who have monitored "ongoing activity" recently from North Korea's nuclear and missile testing facilities.

The Post says new evidence, including satellite photographs, indicate the missiles are liquid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missiles and are being constructed at a factory that produced North Korea's first such missile capable of reaching the United States.

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met in Singapore on June 12 and signed an agreement in which North Korea committed to "complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula" without specifying a timeline.

Last Friday, North Korea returned what were said to be dozens of remains of American soldiers missing from the 1950-53 Korean War, something Kim promised during his summit with Trump.

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"We see them going to work, just as before", a U.S. official told The Post.

The findings, including satellite photos taken in recent weeks, indicated that the work was under way at the same factory that produced the country's first large ICBM, the Hwasong-15, in Sanumdong, on the outskirts of Pyongyang, according to the report.

After that meeting, the USA president declared North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat and there was cautious optimism that the secretive state could call time on its missile programme.

Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a Senate panel that Pyongyang was continuing to produce fissile material required for building nuclear warheads.

"Your regular reminder that under @realDonaldTrump, the USA gave up military readiness exercises but North Korea has NOT Eliminated any nukes, Eliminated any missiles, Eliminated any chem weapons".

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The source previously told CNN that if a peace treaty to replace the armistice agreement that ended the Korean War did not ensure the survival of the current North Korean regime, it could be the end of denuclearization talks. The commitments it made to President Trump were too vague to preclude such activity.

Still, Joel Wit, a former State Department negotiator and founder of North Korea-watching website 38 North, said that the North's moves were, historically, par for the course.

First, one thing that has changed is this: in his call for "final, fully verified denuclearization", Pompeo dropped the word "irreversible" in his description of the denuclearization the US seeks from North Korea.

The unified teams will mark the first time the two Koreas compete together in the Asian Games. Before we pull the plug on everything, let's see how the Trump administration handles this development.

The North Korean view, he says, is of "a distant future, when USA forces are completely withdrawn not necessarily from only the Korean Peninsula, but maybe from the entire East Asia, maybe from the Pacific and what about Hawaii, or what about surrender of US nukes and Russian nukes and Chinese nukes?" His North Korean counterpart, Lt. Gen. US intelligence agencies believe that it has been operational for at least a decade. On Tuesday, North and South Korean athletes trained together in rowing and canoeing in southern South Korea. "North Korea is not negotiating to give up their nuclear weapons", Lewis said.

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