BEHIND THE SCENES

North Korea is building new missiles despite its commitment to denuclearize

That was a fruitful meeting.
That was a fruitful meeting.
Image: AP Photo/Evan Vucci
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Shortly after his historic meeting with Kim Jong Un last month, Donald Trump proudly declared on Twitter: “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”

But new evidence indicates the regime is working on one or two liquid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) outside Pyongyang, reports the Washington Post (paywall), citing unnamed officials familiar with recent US intelligence.

Satellite images show shipping containers and other vehicles moving in and out of the Sanumdong facility, which also produced the Hwasong-15, North Korea’s first ICBM capable of reaching anywhere in the US, launched last November. One photo from July 7 shows a truck with a covered trailer, similar to ones North Korea has used to transport ICBMs, in a loading area, though its contents remain unclear.

At the US-North Korea summit in Singapore in June, the two leaders signed a vague agreement committing to denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Since then, the US has found signs that North Korea “continue[s] to produce fissile material” used for nuclear weapons in a secret facility and evidence of North Korean officials plotting to deceive the US (paywall) about the country’s arsenal and facilities.

North Korea is, however, giving off the appearance of being willing to denuclearize. In May, in a widely publicized event with invited foreign press, it demolished the nuclear-testing site Punggye-ri. And satellite imagery from last week showed it was dismantling the Sohae satellite-launching site, which is believed to have played a role in developing technologies for the country’s missile program. But independent experts have criticized the regime for not letting in international inspectors, describing the dismantling of both sites as largely symbolic.