Published: Wed, July 25, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump Tells VFW Convention North Korea to Return US Remains Soon

Trump Tells VFW Convention North Korea to Return US Remains Soon

"Despite reports emerging about the supposed lack of progress on North Korea's denuclearization, .it appears Pyongyang has taken a first step toward fulfilling its June 12th Joint Statement with the U.S".

The 38 North think tank said images showed work at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station to dismantle a building that is used to build space-launch vehicles and a nearby rocket engine test stand used to develop liquid-fuel engines for ballistic missiles.

38 North said satellite images from Friday showed the roof and supporting structure partially removed from the rail-mounted processing structure for the launch pad and numerous vehicles were present, including a large crane.

"My assessment is that there was a greater inflow from overseas, especially China since Kim's trips there", said Daily NK researcher Kang Mi-jin, referring to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un's three visits to China for meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in Singapore last month for an unprecedented meeting between a USA president and his North Korean counterpart. Pompeo said on July 18 that progress had been made on this issue and that he thought the first batch would be returned in the next couple of weeks.

At the time, the president did not name the site, though media reports quoting unidentified US officials later identified it as Sohae - the newest and largest of North Korea's several known major missile-testing facilities.

Trump said in Singapore that Kim had committed to destroying a "major" missile engine test site, without specifying the site.

Nam Gwan-pyo, a senior South Korean official, told reporters: "It will likely have a good effect on denuclearisation".

Tour halted after riders are hit by pepper spray
A gendarme, left, sprays tear gas at protesters as other gendarmes remove haystacks from the route of the Tour de France . Race organizers have had trouble controlling crowds with fans getting out of hand on the most famous climbs of the Tour.

The dismantling at the site comes after Kim Jong-un promised to halt all missile testing, and is a significant confidence-building measure. Wit, a former State Department negotiator with North Korea and a consistent advocate for dialogue with Pyongyang, said such a move would be just one step in the right direction, "but an important one".

Bill Richardson, a former US diplomat with experience negotiating with North Korea, including during the recovery of the remains of seven Americans in 2007, said Pyongyang was using the issue as "a bargaining chip".

Earlier on Monday, President Trump said that he was "very happy" with the progress in relations with North Korea, saying that Pyongyang had not launched any missiles or carried out any nuclear tests during the last nine months.

"North Korea does not need the Sohae engine test stand anymore if it is confident in the engine design".

But while the dismantlement of Sohae gives Trump some breathing room after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's uneventful talks recently in Pyongyang, Carnegie's Schoff was wary of the North using the move to push for a peace regime.

"Dismantling test infrastructure, especially for space launch vehicles, does not change this calculation".

Amid speculation that North Korea hadn't done enough to work towards that goal, Trump took to Twitter to clarify.

North Korea has carried out a total of six nuclear tests, the most recent of which took place in September a year ago.

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