Unconfirmed nuclear missile sites, tunnels found in North Korea

President Donald Trump declared after his historic summit in June that with President Kim Jong Un there was "no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea". That report said that while US intelligence knew about the bases, their existence suggested "a great deception" because the country was improving some sites while offering to dismantle another major launching site.

North Korea continues to secretly develop its nuclear weapons programme despite months of talks with the United States, according to a report released by a Washington-based think tank.

He took to Twitter to say he's fully aware of the missile base that is referred to in the report, . stressing nothing out of the ordinary is happening.

It said the bases are "combined with decades of extensive camouflage, concealment and deception practices to maximize the survival of its missile units from pre-emptive strikes and during wartime operations".

The existence of the bases - which presumably would have to be declared and then dismantled under the US goal of North Korean "denuclearization" - suggests that Pyongyang's previous efforts to dismantle known missile launch sites or nuclear facilities had little impact on its nuclear program.

Presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said continued activity at North Korean missile sites only underlines the need for nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang to proceed at a faster pace.

He specifically criticized any suggestion that the bases constituted a "deception" by the North Koreans, or that there was any agreement that required Pyongyang to declare the existence of the bases.

"The United States and North Korea have yet to conclude an agreement that inhibits deployment of missiles by Pyongyang, never mind requiring their dismantlement".

While US sanctions on North Korea remain in place, enforcement by traditional trading partners China and Russian Federation has relaxed since the summit, US officials have acknowledged.

The North Koreans have stored most of their weapons capability, including mobile missile launchers, in mountain bunkers or in underground silos. "We have indicated to the North Koreans that the president is prepared to have a second summit with Kim Jong Un after the first of the year", Bolton said.

Trump made this rosy assessment despite the postponement of a meeting by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's meeting with a key aide to Kim. "The last round of tests under Kim Jong-un were not just coming from missile test sites".

After the Singapore summit, Mr. Trump said he had achieved a major breakthrough with North Korea and that lasting denuclearization was on the horizon. Administration officials say they are trying to reschedule the meeting.

Bases for strategic weapons such as intercontinental ballistic missiles - whose development is the subject of sanctions - are located deep inside the country.

Later Monday, U.S. officials told NBC News that the North is continuing development of its weapons program.

Medium-range missiles capable of striking Japan and all of South Korea reportedly are deployed in an operational belt 90-150km north of the Demilitarised Zone that divides the peninsula.

Pyongyang has asked for "phased and synchronised measures" for denuclearisation, meaning the global community would slowly relax or drop sanctions with each step in the denuclearisation process, rather than waiting until its completion.

Many observers, including the Central Intelligence Agency, believe that Kim has no intention of ever giving up his nuclear weapons.

  • Tracy Klein