Summit bears fruit as South Korea flies tangerines to North

by Garry Watts November 15, 2018, 1:34
Summit bears fruit as South Korea flies tangerines to North

The Sakkanmol is an "undeclared" operational missile base for short-range projectiles and is one of 20 estimated North Korea missile bases Pyongyang has not disclosed to the global community, analysts say.

The imagery shows barely visible entrances to seven underground facilities at the Sakkanmol missile base - each protected from artillery fire and air strikes by 60-foot-high (18-meter) berms made from rock and dirt excavated from the site.

This is the biggest shipment of South Korean goods to North Korea since 2010, which is when inter-Korean relations went spiraling down following North Korea's attack on a South Korean warship in March that year, . killing 46 sailors.

The South Korean government is sending tens of thousands of tangerines from the southern resort island of Jeju to North Korea.

Today, a new report from a Washington think-tank identified more than a dozen hidden bases in North Korea that could be used to disperse mobile launchers for ballistic missiles in the event of a conflict.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies - relying on satellite photos, as well as interviews with defectors and defence and intelligence officials from around the world - has identified 13 of an estimated 20 undeclared missile operating bases. "If the second summit blows up, then maybe we see a resumption of testing and fire and fury". USA analysts say they have located more than half of an estimated 20 secret North Korean missile development facilities.

The revelations, like earlier reports on the continuation of North Korea's weapons programs, highlight the challenges of securing the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

But to some analysts, North Korea never explicitly agreed to that, only to the more vague term "denuclearization".

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However, plans for a second meeting could be in jeopardy after leading regime figure Kim Yong-chol failed to turn up for a meeting in NY with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Less than 24 hours before Pompeo was scheduled to travel to NY for those meetings, the State Department announced they had been postponed because of a scheduling conflict.

South Korea has around 60 such posts along the rest of the border while the North has about 160, Yonhap said.

President Trump is still hoping to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

But on Thursday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said North Korea postponed the meeting "because they weren't ready".

The CIA declined to comment on the images, but U.S. officials have expressed concern about North Korea using hidden and undeclared locations to continue to work on improving their missile technology and possibly their nuclear program.

Medium-range missiles capable of striking Japan and all of South Korea reportedly are deployed in an operational belt 55 to 100 miles (90 to 150 kilometers) north of the demilitarized zone.

However, he added, the report could also make the current stalemate between Washington and Pyongyang last "longer than expected".

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