Pompeo to urge Asian countries to enforce United Nations sanctions on North Korea

Arturo Kim
July 31, 2018

Kim signed an agreement to work toward denuclearization during a summit with Trump last month, and Trump spent the wake of the meeting praising the brutal regime leader's character and intelligence.

U.S. intelligence officials said that new evidence, including satellite photos taken in recent weeks, suggested that work was underway on at least one and possibly two liquid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missiles at a research facility in Sanumdong on the outskirts of Pyongyang.

The paper, however, said many analysts and independent experts see the dismantling at Sohae as largely symbolic, and say the test stand could easily be rebuilt within months.

Satellite images show that North Korea is behaving like a country working hard on its missile program, not a country preparing to disarm, the Washington Post reports, citing "officials familiar with the intelligence".

It is possible, the official said, that any new missiles being built may be for further testing of such vehicles and of more accurate guidance systems.

The White House said it did not comment on intelligence, Reuters reported, while a senior official at South Korea's presidential office said US and South Korean intelligence agencies are closely looking into various North Korean movements.

North Korea's focus on improved living standards came the same day the Washington Post reported the United States has detected "new activity" at an intercontinental ballistic missile factory.

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In May, Trump halted new sanctions targeting North Korea in anticipation of his summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Their strategy includes potentially asserting that they have fully denuclearized by declaring and disposing of 20 warheads while retaining dozens more.

Liquid-fueled ICBMs, such as the Hwasong-15, require lead-time to make ready for launch and are therefore considered less destabilizing than solid-fueled rockets, which can quickly be prepared for a first strike.

A United States official who spoke to Reuters said one photo showed a truck and a covered trailer similar to those used to move previous North Korean ICBMs.

Pompeo assured lawmakers that the United States was working toward finding a solution without easing its sanctions against North Korea, but also admitted during his testimony that it was "continuing to create fissile material".

It is to be noted that North Korea has become a virtual pariah in the global community since the United Nations imposed tough sanctions on the country, after conducting nuclear tests and launching three ICBMs previous year. "Yes, they continue to produce fissile material".

Pompeo, at the Senate hearing last week, sought to assure lawmakers that the disarmament talks with North Korea remained on track and that the effort to dismantle the country's nuclear arsenal was just getting underway.

This indicated that there had not been a complete stop in activity during the summit talks.

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