US Warns More Sanctions as N.Korea Rapidly Restores Rocket Launch Site
On the basis of new satellite images obtained from North Korea, analysts have reported that the country is restoring a rocket launch site, which it had pledged to dismantle.
Two days after the US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jon Un met in Vietnam to discuss a deal on denuclearisation – but did not reach to a conclusion – the images were taken.
The Tongchang-ri site, which has been used for satellite launches and engine testing, but not for ballistic missile launches, started to dismantle last year. The work stopped when the talks with US came to a pause.
North Korea’s pledge to dismantle the rocket launch site was seen as a confidence-building measure between the two countries. Washington has yet again warned Pyongyang to either take stricter actions towards denuclearisation or face more sanctions.
Several US think tanks via satellite images and South Korean testimony have revealed that Pyongyang is rapidly rebuilding the structures on the rocket launch site at the Sohae site – North Korea’s largest and main satellite launch site since 2012.
Missiles capable of reaching the United States have also been tested at the Sohae site. However, the site has not been used to test ballistic missiles till now.
Monitoring group 38 North’s managing editor Jenny Town said, “This distinction is important. The North Koreans likely see the rebuilding not as an active part of their missile program, but of their civilian space programme – a distinction they have made repeatedly in the past.”
“One would assume, the rebuilding of these structures signals a diminished lack of trust in the process,” said Town.
The second summit between Trump and Kim ended last week without reaching a deal. US National Security Adviser John Bolton on Tuesday said that the US would keep a close eye on North Korea to see if they give up their nuclear weapons programme or not.
“If they’re not willing to do it, then I think President Trump has been very clear. They’re not going to get relief from the crushing economic sanctions that have been imposed on them and we’ll look at ramping those sanctions up in fact.”
If the US imposes new sanctions on North Korea, it would directly affect the peace initiatives.
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