Trump 'Very Happy' with North Korea Nuclear Weapons Talks

N. Korea begins dismantling rocket test site: analysts

An American research group on Monday claimed that North Korea has begun dismantling its main missile-engine test site, a possible sign that Pyongyang is fulfilling the promises North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made to President Trump at the summit in Singapore last month.

Satellite image courtesy of Airbus Defense and Space and 38 North obtained July 23 shows the apparent dismantling of facilities at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, North Korea.

The apparent dismantling of the Sohae test site comes amid rising questions over North Korea's willingness to stick to the pledges made at the 12 June summit.

But rocket engines are easily repurposed for use in missiles and outside observers say nuclear-armed Pyongyang's space program is a fig leaf for weapons tests.

Trump met North Korea's leader in Singapore in June.

It added in its report: "Since these facilities are believed to have played an important role in the development of technologies for the North's intercontinental ballistic missile program, these efforts represent a significant confidence-building measure on the part of North Korea".

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An official from South Korea's presidential office on Tuesday said Seoul has also been detecting dismantlement activities at North Korea's Sohae launch site but did not elaborate.

"This is consistent with North Korea's public line, which is that its successful test program is now transitioning to mass production of nuclear and missile systems", he said.

The diplomatic offensive has tamped down tensions after fears of nuclear war rose previous year as the communist state demonstrated strong advances with a series of missile launches and its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

Town said that while dismantlement was "absolutely" reversible and "clearly isn't going to affect North Korea's core capabilities", it had implications for the negotiating process with the US, which had hit a wall in recent weeks. A binding treaty to end the Korean War, which was resolved with an armistice agreement, would likely require extensive negotiations with multiple countries, as well as the approval of two-thirds of the U.S. Senate.

"Now North Korea and the United States have started to have talks", she said.

"We've gone now 235 days without a provocation, so we saw a big change occur after the 29th of November missile launch", General Vincent Brooks, Commander, US Forces Korea, said Saturday via video link to the Aspen Security Forum. "Japan is happy, all of Asia is happy", he said.

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"T$3 he Fake News is saying, without ever asking me (always anonymous sources), that I am angry because it is not going fast enough", he wrote.

The rare show of discrepancy between the allies came at an unusually sensitive time between the South and North, after North Korean media excruciated South Korean authorities for what it said was kowtowing to the US on inter-Korean issues. "I think in the end the North Koreans will turn over the majority of the remains that they have - but it will have a price".

On Twitter, 38 North's founder, Joel Wit, said the images suggested that North Korea may be willing to "give up its space launch programme".

North Korean state media placed more pressure on South Korea to implement its inter-Korean summit agreements to work towards the "historic task" of ending the Korean War, reported South Korean news outlet Yonhap on Monday (Jul 23).

Sohae, on the northwest coast of North Korea, is ostensibly a facility designed for putting satellites into orbit, but rocket engines are easily repurposed for use in missiles and the worldwide community has labelled Pyongyang's space programme a fig leaf for weapons tests.

However, Mount said the military consequences of a broader dismantlement would be "marginal". Nearby, portions of a vertical engine test have been dismantled with paneling removed.

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