Seoul, North Korea appears to have started
dismantling key facilities at its main satellite launch site in a step
toward fulfilling a commitment made by leader Kim Jong Un at his
summit with President Donald Trump in June.
While Pyongyang could be trying to build trust with
Washington as they engage in talks to resolve the nuclear standoff,
analysts say dismantling a few facilities at the site alone wouldn’t
realistically reduce North Korea’s military capability or represent a
material step toward denuclearization. And they expressed concern
that the work is being done without verification.
The North Korea-focused 38 North website said commercial
satellite images from July 20 to 22 indicate the North began
dismantling key facilities at the Sohae launch site. The facilities being
razed or disassembled include a rocket engine test stand used to
develop liquid-fuel engines for ballistic missiles and space-launch
vehicles and a rail-mounted processing building where space launch
vehicles were assembled before being moved to the launch pad,
according to the report.
An official from South Korea’s presidential office said that Seoul
has also been detecting dismantlement activities at the Sohae launch
site, but did not specify what the North was supposedly taking apart.
After his summit with Kim in Singapore on June 12, Trump said
he was told by Kim that the North was already destroying a major
missile engine testing site without identifying which site. The leaders
concluded their summit by declaring their vague aspirational goal of
moving toward a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, the Associated Press
(AP) news reported.
Source: Oman News Agency