N Korea 'making missiles' despite U.S. thaw

N Korea 'making missiles' despite U.S. thaw

N Korea 'making missiles' despite U.S. thaw

Concerns over ongoing nuclear and missile activity in North Korea surged after The Washington Post reported Tuesday that USA intelligence officials believe Pyongyang is continuing to build new missiles in the same research facility it used to build intercontinental missiles capable of reaching the East Coast of the United States. "And the military says that it has already notified the soldier's family that his dog tag has been found".

A U.S. official said Washington was "concerned" by North Korean violations of UN-approved sanctions, including illegal shipments of oil by sea.

Asked about the report, the Pentagon declined to comment.

Kim "put it in black and white: the North Koreans are going to mass produce missiles and nuclear weapons".

Military delegations from North and South Korea held talks on Tuesday in the truce village of Panmunjom, within the demilitarized zone (DMZ) border region, the same site where North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met in April. This intelligence has been backed up by satellite images that appear to show activity at a known uranium-enrichment facility.

The Sanumdong site, on the edge of the capital Pyongyang, previously produced two Hwasong-15 missiles, North Korea's longest-range missiles, which experts have the ability to hit the US.

The meeting, their second since last month, held in the border village of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone (DMZ), was created to follow on from an inter-Korean summit in April in which the leaders of the two Koreas agreed to defuse tensions and halt "all hostile acts".

The Post mentioned that workers were seen dismantling an engine test stand at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station on the North's west coast, but noted that many experts see it as a symbolic gesture as Pyongyang has successfully launched ICBMs that use the kind of liquid-fueled engines tested at Sohae.

According to the Post, senior North Korean officials may be trying to deceive Washington about their nuclear and missile capabilities.

Their strategy, the Post said, "includes potentially asserting that they have fully denuclearized by declaring and disposing of 20 warheads while retaining dozens more".

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The repatriation is a breakthrough in a long-stalled USA effort to obtain war remains from North Korea. The age of the remains - at least 65 years old - will complicate the process.

Nauert said that North Korean officials would be at some of the same meetings as State Department officials in the area.

They will encourage the United States and Pyongyang "to continue working towards the realisation of lasting peace and stability on a denuclearised Korean Peninsula", according to a draft copy of the chairman's statement obtained by AFP.

The Trump administration, as part of the Singapore agreement, is pursuing discussions with North Korea on resuming those "field activities".

"In Singapore I never heard the words: we will unilaterally disarm", Narang said.

Besides being the US's largest trading partner, China is arguably the most important player in Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign to force Kim to give up his nuclear arsenal. It suggests North Korea is continuing to work on advanced weaponry, seeking to cement itself as a nuclear power rather than completely disarm.

USA officials have for years warned that Pyongyang was developing nuclear warheads small enough to fit atop an ICBM capable of reaching the US mainland.

The Pentagon estimates that almost 7,700 US troops are unaccounted for from the war; among them are 5,300 believed to have been killed north of the 38th parallel, which largely follows the boundary between North and South Korea.

Once the boxes are in DPAA custody, the first step will be to inventory them to determine whether the remains are those of Americans, Duus said.

The U.S., he added, has "to know what they have before talking about caps and arms control".

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