Report says images indicate North Korea dismantling test site facilities

By July 20 dismantlement had begun of the rail-mounted transfer structure on the Sohae launch pad

A combination of two satellite images taken on June 22, 2018 (top) and July 22, 2018 show activity at the Sohae rocket launch site in North Korea.

New satellite imagery shows "that North Korea has begun the process of dismantling a key missile site, and we appreciate that", Trump said at an event for military veterans in Kansas City, Missouri. The testing facilities at the site are thought to play a role in the development of liquid-fuel engines that can also be used in North Korea's ballistic missile programme.

The dismantlement has been made as a follow-up to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's pledge to dismantle one of the missile test sites at the June 12 summit with U.S. President Donald Trump. Fuel and Oxidizer bunkers are in the process of being demolished, while the steel framework of the test structure has been "completely dismantled", according to 38 North.

Soon after the briefing, the official told South Korean correspondents in NY that the South Korean government "needed" some exemption from worldwide sanctions on the North to implement the Panmunjom Declaration, adding that it was asking the global community to grant that exemption as it was leading the North through dialogue and cooperation.

In one set of images, it appears that a rail-mounted processing building is being dismantled.

A report in The Washington Post at the weekend said in spite of positive assessments Mr Trump has given on progress with North Korea, he has vented anger at aides over a lack of immediate progress.

North Korea reportedly believes it has made sufficient concessions - namely its freeze on weapons testing, the destruction of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, and the imminent return of the remains of US war dead - to warrant the start of talks on a peace treaty.

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he is hopeful North Korea will soon begin returning the remains of US troops missing from the 1950-53 Korean War.

But their agreement contained no details about when or how North Korea would abandon its nuclear weapons program or shut down its existing nuclear facilities.

Determined to achieve commitment’ Pompeo on North Korean talks
Determined to achieve commitment’ Pompeo on North Korean talks

Kim Jong Un personally promised President Donald Trump these sites would get taken down, so this will go a long way towards building confidence.

Last Friday in NY, a high-level South Korean official who spoke on the condition of anonymity chose to convey that hope to reporters - just as Pompeo highlighted in a different news conference that all United Nations member-states unanimously agreed to fully enforce sanctions on the North.

In absolute terms, this represents only a tiny fraction of North Korea's nuclear missile infrastructure.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also called the development "consistent" with recent commitments made by Pyongyang.

A South Korean delegation that traveled to NY over the past weekend said Seoul needed to be exempted from some global sanctions against the North to implement the Panmunjom Declaration.

The US, troubled by this obvious betrayal of the spirit of the agreement, then exited the deal.

Diplomats say the North Koreans have canceled follow-up meetings, demanded more money and failed to maintain basic communications, even as the once-isolated regime's engagements with China and South Korea flourish.

The meetings focused on what the summit means for North Korea and its nuclear weapons.

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