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U.S. satellites detect activity at North Korean missile site; says could be another ballistic missile in making

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News Analysis |

Washington Post quoted unnamed US official who shared the Intel that the satellites have picked up the regular movement of vehicles into a known missile development facility of North Korea. The active status of the facility shows that North Korea is continuing to build another ballistic missile powered by liquid fuel. It comes as a shocker for the international community if that is the case because just two months back in Trump-Kim summit, North Korea signed the agreement to work toward de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

The only objective of developing ballistic missiles, particularly the long range ones, is to mount nuclear warheads on them. North Korea is already theoretically capable of reaching Washington D.C with its Hwasong-15 ballistic missile which was tested in November 2017. With a flight altitude of more than 4000 Km, the missile has a range of 13000 Km giving it the ability to strike almost entire USA.

Nukes remain the security guarantee for the small Asian country against the mighty U.S, therefore, U.S also needs to put serious effort backed by concrete steps that North remains assured of its security post denuclearization era.

It remains to be seen why North Korea is developing, if it is as there is nothing conclusive right now, a liquid fuel powered ballistic missile when they are quite inefficient as compared to solid fuel one which it already possessed. Both the United States of America and North Korea have come closer to each other after a very long time. A few days back, North Korea sent the remains of American troops who fought in the Korean war decades back.

Read more: North Korea begins dismantling rocket test site

The gesture resonated among the American people followed by massive praise. President Donald Trump went ahead and thanked North Korea for the goodwill in a tweet. “After so many years, this will be a great moment for so many families. Thank you to Kim Jong Un,” Trump wrote on Twitter. After the summit in June this year, President Donald Trump was criticized for giving the North Korean dictator more than the deserved leverage.

The denuclearization which was agreed and subsequently signed in the form of the agreement by both the presidents had no road map or defined contours. But the when boxes of the remains of American soldiers were flown toward North Korea, the credit was rightly given to the efforts of President Trump as well.

It comes as a shocker for the international community if that is the case because just two months back in Trump-Kim summit, North Korea signed the agreement to work toward de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Kim Jong Un invited journalists from all parts of the world to witness the demolition of its Punggye-Ri nuclear site as the gesture to prove his intentions to the world. The site did go down however, the prevailing notion was that it was obsolete anyway and its destruction was preplanned.

Now that new evidence has emerged that North Korea has active Research and Development sites where purportedly new ballistic missiles are being manufactured, it is going to be very difficult for Kim Jong Un to make the world believe that he truly wants peace. Even before the new evidence of the activity at an active site was discovered, North Korea was not completely abiding by the agreement.

Read more: North Korea will never give up its nuclear weapons

Though certainly, it is yet to commit its nuclear assets to IAEA for “denuclearization” which is obviously a long shot, it is a common understanding that building new weaponry stands in contrast to what Kim has verbally been agreeing to. Last week, U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had to admit that North Korea is producing fissile material despite the pledge it made at the summit. Asked at a Senate committee hearing whether this was the case, Pompeo responded on Wednesday by saying: “Yes, that’s correct … Yes, they continue to produce fissile material.”

Furthermore, U.S believes that North Korea is pursuing to develop Sub-marine launched missiles. While Mike Pompeo declined to comment on this assertion made by committee, but if it is the case, it implies that North Korea is looking to attain the second strike capability. Both countries have a history of lying and deceiving to each other therefore it should not be surprising if the trust still lacks on each side.

If Kim Jong Un actually wants to focus on the economic well-being of his people and country, as he has presented himself recently then step like these are seriously going to dent the effort. Nukes remain the security guarantee for the small Asian country against the mighty U.S, therefore, U.S also needs to put serious effort backed by concrete steps that North remains assured of its security post denuclearization era.