Tuesday, September 28, 2021

US asks North Korea to allow observers to witness dismantling of missile base

Washington, Jul 24 (EFE).- The US government asked the North Korean regime to allow observers to witness the dismantling of the Sohae missile testing base, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday.

When reporters at a joint news conference with Defense Secretary James Mattis and their Australian counterparts in Palo Alto, California, asked Pompeo what further steps were needed by North Korea, the secretary of state said that “They need to completely, fully denuclearize. That’s the steps that Chairman Kim committed to.”

La ministra de Defensa australiana, Marise Payne (izda), de Exteriores, Julie Bishop, y el secretario de Estado de EE.UU., Mike Pompeo, ofrecen una rueda de prensa durante la reunión ministerial de consultas de los titulares de Defensa y Exteriores de Australia y EEUU, conocida como AUSMIN, en la Universidad Stanford de Palo Alto, California, EEUU, el 24 de julio del 2018. EFE

Satellite photos published on Tuesday on the specialized Web site 38 North show that Pyongyang has begun dismantling the Sohae base, where the regime of Kim Jong-un builds engines for intercontinental ballistic missiles that supposedly have the range to hit US territory.

The process of dismantling the base has been proceeding without the presence of international observers, according to various media reports.

When asked about the images of the military base, Pompeo said that North Korea’s actions are “consistent” with the “commitment” Kim made to President Donald Trump during their historic June 12 summit in Singapore.

After that meeting, Trump said that Kim had promised to very quickly dismantle a missile engine testing base, although he did not specify which base that might be.

US government officials later said that Sohae – in northwestern North Korea – was the base that would be closed.

At their summit, the two leaders signed a declaration opening the door to North Korea’s denuclearization in exchange for US guarantees regarding the Pyongyang regime’s survival, but it did not specify the mechanisms or any concrete time periods for attaining that objective.

Skepticism over North Korea’s willingness to denuclearize has grown since US media reported in late June – citing national intelligence sources – that Pyongyang has continued to enrich uranium after the summit and that it was trying to hide a large part of its arsenal and other military assets from the US.