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Gov't Needs to Stop Defending N.Korea

Gov't Needs to Stop Defending N.Korea

To boot, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may have committed to eventual denuclearization at a June summit with President Trump in Singapore, but he did not agree to stop missile development or shut down all of the country's missile facilities.

Kim Eui-kyeom, a spokesman for the presidential Blue House in Seoul, said South Korean and USA intelligence officials had been "closely watching" the sites using military satellites and that the CSIS report contained "nothing new".

In a separate report released this week, CSIS said: "After extensive research, including interviews with North Korean defectors and government, defence and intelligence officials around the world, many of these issues have been addressed and it appears that the KPA now has approximately 15-20 missile operating bases".

North Korea "has never signed any agreement, any negotiation that makes shutting down missile bases mandatory". Trump expressed confidence in Kim's denuclearization promises, even amid skepticism in Washington.

Yet a Cheong Wa Dae spokesman responded to the report about the secret missile sites by saying it contains "nothing new" and that the North never promised to destroy any missile sites other than Tongchang-ri.

Experts said the undeclared sites had always been known to U.S. intelligence agencies but had never been publicly acknowledged by Mr Trump who asserted North Korea was "no longer a nuclear threat" following the June summit.

North Korea offered to dismantle a major launching site following talks with the US.

Marie Harf questioned if North Korea has given anything up, noting that they still have missiles and are just not testing them.

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As time goes by, North Korea's likely expansion of its arsenal could force Washington to rethink its insistence on full denuclearization, said Moon Hong-sik, a research fellow at the Institute for National Security Strategy in Seoul. It said they are scattered across the country and designed so that mobile missile launchers can quickly be taken out of the underground facilities and moved to launch sites.

Mr Cha had been in line for appointment as United States ambassador to South Korea, but was dropped because of disagreement with the Trump administration's approach.

In the vaguely worded agreement, Trump and Kim pledged to build a "lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula" and to "work toward complete denuclearization" of the peninsula.

North Korea declared its nuclear force "complete" and halted missile and nuclear bomb testing earlier this year but USA and South Korean negotiators have yet to elicit from Pyongyang a concrete declaration of the size or scope of the weapons programs, or a promise to stop deploying its existing arsenal.

North Korea also took a step toward denuclearization when officials agreed to allow worldwide inspectors into its nuclear and missile sites - a step North Korea had repeatedly refused to take in the past.

According to Revere, Pyongyang believes it can keep nuclear weapons and maintain its relations with Washington at the same time.

"I assume the meeting was delayed because both sides realized that significant progress is not possible at this time, due to the major differences between the USA and [North Korea] on denuclearization", said Samore.

"The story in The New York Times concerning North Korea developing missile bases is inaccurate", Mr. Trump tweeted Tuesday.


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