If reports that North Korea’s military has been rebuilding a rocket launch site are true, which remains to be proven, US President Donald Trump would be less than pleased.
The North Koreans may believe that resuming work on missile systems will put them in a stronger negotiating position to ease sanctions. But the nation, which is running short on food, will likely find the opposite to be true. Hence Trump’s confidence that the issue will ‘ultimately get solved’.
With last week’s failed Hanoi talks now consigned to the dustbin of history, two US-based think tanks and the South Korean Yonhap News Agency reported on Tuesday that work to restore part of North Korea’s Sohae Satellite Launching Station has resumed.
When asked by reporters if the Kim regime was breaking promise, Trump said that he would be, ‘very disappointed if that were happening’. He continued:
‘Well we’re going to see. It’s too early to see. … It’s a very early report. We’re the ones that put it out. But I would be very, very disappointed in Chairman Kim, and I don’t think I will be, but we’ll see what happens. We’ll take a look. It’ll ultimately get solved.’
Trump stresses severity of situation
According to RAW, the work to dismantle the missile engine test stand at Sohae began last year as part of a pledge that came from the first Trump-Kim summit in June.
With different reports emerging from the breakdown in talks in Hanoi, the question is now whether sanctions will be ramped up or whether Kim will ultimately commit to denuclearisation.
Trump stressed the gravity of the situation — ‘We have a very nasty problem there. We have to solve a problem,’ he said.
Adding that with regards to Kim, ‘The relationship is good.’
38 North, a DC-based North Korean think tank reported on satellite imagery it had access to, which according to them showed that sometime between 16 February and 2 March, the launch pad had been rebuilt.
This report was echoed by both the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Yonhap news agency.
Yonhap based its reporting on quotes from South Korean legislators who were in turn briefed by the country’s National Intelligence Service in Seoul.
Further talks remain in doubt
Work apparently had been started before the summit according to a US government source.
John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser suggested on Tuesday that the Kim regime is risking further sanctions if it did not take concrete steps towards denuclearisation.
The status of further talks remain clouded following the Hanoi breakdown.
Some analysts believe that the move to rebuild is designed to place greater pressure on the US, rather than a definite move to resume testing.
Lest we forget, this problem originated in the Bill Clinton era with the poorly designed ‘Agreed Framework.’
Free Report: Australia’s right to free speech is under attack! Discover how a select group of Australians want to stifle your fundamental right to speak your mind — and what you can do help turn the tide. Download now.