Published: Wed, November 14, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Secret North Korean missile sites located?

Secret North Korean missile sites located?

"The dispersed deployment of these bases and distinctive tactics employed by ballistic missile units 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", they said.

South Korea's presidential office said the report didn't include any information it didn't already know.

"North Korea never promised to get rid of short-range missiles or to shut down related missile bases", presidential spokesperson Kim Eui-kyeom told reporters.

Some 50 to 90 kilometres (31 to 56 miles) from the demilitarised zone that has separated the two Koreas since 1953, "these bases are far enough forward to provide coverage of critical facilities in the northern two-thirds of South Korea, yet far enough from the DMZ to be beyond the range of South Korean and USA long-range artillery", the report said.

The sites identified in the CSIS report are scattered in remote, mountainous areas across North Korea and could be used to house ballistic missiles of various ranges, the largest of which is believed to be capable of striking anywhere in the United States. "Kim Jong Un only committed voluntarily to halt long-range missile tests". It also raised the possibility of shutting more sites and allowing worldwide inspections if Washington took "corresponding measures", of which there has so far been no sign.

The bases are arranged in three belts across North Korea, according to the report, with those for strategic missiles deep inside the country.

"Rather than returning to an operating base - which will undoubtedly be the target of repeated attacks - both the technical support element and launchers will remain in the field using pre-positioned reloads and supplies while moving frequently to different pre-surveyed locations", the report said.

Construction began on the Sakkanmol Missile Operating Base between 1991 and 1993 and it is thought to have been completed in 2001, and added to since 2011 when Mr Kim came to power.

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Although the sites are not launch facilities and in some cases are rudimentary, the authors of the report say they are hidden and illustrate the scope of the North's weapons program and the country's determination to hide its military might.

USA officials have said sanctions forced North Korea to the negotiating table and vowed to keep pressure until complete denuclearization.

Kim Eui-kyeom, a spokesman for the presidential Blue House in Seoul, said South Korean and U.S. intelligence officials had been "closely watching" the sites using military satellites and that the CSIS report contained "nothing new". "It has never signed any agreement, any negotiation that makes shutting down missile bases mandatory... the fact that such a missile base exists shows the necessity for negotiations to be achieved quickly".

USA officials have discussed possible clandestine enrichment sites for nuclear fuel, and in July, analysts at CNS used commercial satellite imagery to conclude that North Korea was "completing a major expansion of an important factory for producing solid rocket motors for ... nuclear-armed missiles".

The Times said the Pentagon had planned to begin deploying a new generation of small, cheap satellites to track North Korea's mobile missiles, but the programme has been held up by bureaucratic and budget disputes.

In April, ahead of his meeting with Trump, Kim told a gathering of ruling party leadership the nuclear arsenal represented a "great victory" and announced there was no need for further tests of nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles.

The report was released less than a week after North Korea abruptly called off a new round of negotiations with Pompeo that had been set for Thursday in NY.

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