North Korea has made repairs at a major missile launch site it had begun dismantling after agreeing with U.S. President Donald Trump to work toward denuclearization at their first meeting in Singapore last June.
Reuters reports that the country began restoring the facility just two days after their second summit failed to produce an agreement between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung Un in Hanoi late last week.
The latest construction at the Sohae launch site, also known as the Tongchang-ri launch site, in the country’s north near the border with China, includes a new roof and door at the facility, according to Reuters.
Jenny Town, managing editor at the Washington-based monitoring website 38 North, told Reuters that work on the launchpad can also be seen in satellite images.
A report released by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), also based in Washington, says that satellite imagery dated March 2 “shows that North Korea is pursuing a rapid rebuilding of the long-range rocket site at Sohae.”
The construction “may indicate North Korean plans to demonstrate resolve in the face of U.S. rejection of North Korea’s demands at the summit,” CSIS said in a statement. Although Trump has repeatedly claimed that North Korea was willing to denuclearize after his first meeting with Kim, the dismantling of the Sohae site was one of the only signs of progress.
Trump abruptly ended talks with Kim in the Vietnamese capital last week, saying that Pyongyang insisted the U.S. remove all sanctions on North Korea. But at a rare news conference held by the North Koreans, senior officials said they had only asked for partial sanctions relief in exchange for closure of their main nuclear site at Yongbyon.
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