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North Korea is conning the United States, building up secret, smaller missile bases even after publicly touting the dismantling of its main launch site, according to a new review of satellite images by a top think tank.

Citing new satellite pictures, the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Beyond Parallel program identified what appears to be missile operating bases that have never been acknowledged by North Korean officials. CSIS’ conclusions were not immediately independently confirmed.

The report identified about 15 to 20 bases being operated by the Korean People’s Army’s Strategic Force, based on information from officials in the government, defense and intelligence, as well as North Korean defectors.

“The ballistic missile operating bases are small, dispersed throughout the nation, and, with few exceptions, located in narrow mountain valleys,” the CSIS report stated. “The deployment pattern has evolved over time, garnering a variety of descriptions, but today it is most commonly described as consisting of the three ‘belts’: the Tactical (or Forward), the Operational, and the Strategic (or Strategic Rear) based upon their physical distance from the DMZ [Demilitarized Zone].”

The sites can build a slew of missiles for the regime, including intercontinental ballistic missiles that may have the ability to reach U.S. territory. Though the bases are not considered traditional launch facilities, missiles can be launched from the locations in an emergency, the report stated.

Satellite images of a possible base in Sakkanmol, about 50 miles from the Demilitarized Zone, allegedly show headquarter buildings, barracks, maintenance depots and entrances to alleged underground tunnels that would hide missiles and transport trucks.

The findings come amid a stalemate in denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s meeting with his North Korean counterpart, Kim Yong Chol, was canceled last week. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the meeting that was set for last Thursday in New York “will now take place at a later date.”

“We will reconvene when our respective schedules permit,” Nauert said of the indefinite postponement. “Ongoing conversations continue to take place. The United States remains focused on fulfilling the commitments agreed to by President Trump and Chairman Kim at the Singapore Summit in June.”

Trump also reassured critics that talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un were still occurring.

“We are in no rush,” Trump said Wednesday. “The sanctions are on. The missiles have stopped. The rockets have stopped. The hostages are home.”

But despite Trump’s description of progress, North Korea has repeatedly lashed out at the U.S. and threatened to resume building up its “nuclear forces.” The regime, through its state-run Korean Central News Agency, has accused the U.S. of “nuclear blackmail.”

North Korea took a step toward denuclearization last month when Kim told Pompeo he was ready to allow international inspectors into its nuclear and missile sites — a step North Korea has repeatedly refused to take in the past.

One of the destinations would be the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, where North Korean officials invited journalists to watch a partial demolition in September.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. errollus

    November 13, 2018 at 8:33 am

    As someone who has assisted directly in setting up rocket engine test sites, where are the images of rocket engine test beds.
    These are large and high vertical structures of concrete with a very large and strong steel structure on top, designed to hold the engine in place, in a vertical position at least 15 meters/yards high and tied down with very large steel arms. Such structures are unmistakable and cannot be ‘housed’.
    These big and tall mounting structures must have ‘blow out’ areas under the structure that fan out and extend for about 50 meters/yards at the very least. These blow out areas also encounter very high heat, high enough to melt solid granite rock and leave very noticeable blast marks.
    Further, the test area and blow out area requires very large amount of water to be blown onto the exhaust tail and blow out area in very large quantities to quell the heat. This is provided by at least two large reservoirs of water nearby, usually about 20 -30 meter/yards on diameter and 2 meters/yards feet deep and with very large diameter delivery pipes.
    Furthermore there are no signs of liquid oxygen storage tanks or the associated large pipes with thick insulation which are set up at a safe distance from the test site and used when the test is about to start. These also cannot be housed for obvious reasons.
    Once built, the rocket engines are fairly delicate devices not suitable for transport over rough roads to a test site far away. The engine pipework is easily damaged.
    None of this is shown. It must be concluded that these are NOT rocket factories or accompanying test sites.

  2. errollus

    November 13, 2018 at 9:10 am

    I have assisted with the construction of rocket test sites. I am a registered electrical and mechanical engineer.

    A test site includes a high (10 – 15 yards) concrete tower of immense strength with a very large and strong steel structure above it to hold the engine. This usually takes the form of a giant concrete ring set up on three massively legs, triangularly arranged, heavily embedded in the ground in huge concrete blocks.

    There must also be a blow out area about 50 – 100 yards that fans out from the tower. The heat generated will melt concrete and even granite, so large diameter pipes pumping a great deal of water must be hosed onto the blow out area during a test.

    This water must come from large reservoirs close by which are about 30 – 50 yards in diameter and 2 yards deep. There are never less than two such reservoirs with associated large diameter pipes leading to the pumps at the test site.

    The test stand described above cannot be ‘housed’.

    There must also be a very large container (cylinder) about 10 yards long and two yards in diameter containing liquid oxygen set up a short distance on the ‘safe’ side the test stand and with large pipe networks for delivery. These pipes are also heavily insulated so almost 20 inches in diameter, running in pairs (supply and return). The oxygen cylinder cannot be ‘housed’ for obvious reasons.

    Having test sites far away that would entail moving the rocket engines over rough roads to get to them is also not likely because of the very delicate nature of the engine pipework.

    Based on the above I would say these are NOT rocket test sites.

  3. Synickel

    November 14, 2018 at 11:10 pm

    These may be true, but you can’t trust stuff like this anymore with all the corruption.

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