Published: Thu, November 15, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

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The latest report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington said it had identified 13 of an estimated 20 secret missile operating bases inside North Korea.

Even as North Korea is engaging in talks with the United States, this development shows that Pyongyang will maintain military readiness and continue the upkeep and renovation of its existing facilities given that no firm agreements have been made.

Since the summit in Singapore, North Korea has forgone nuclear and missile tests, dismantled a missile test site and promised to also break up the country's main nuclear complex.

In September, both Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in Pyongyang for their third summit where the leaders laid out a wide-scale plan to ease tensions along the border.

"President Trump has made clear that should Chairman Kim follow through on his commitments, including complete denuclearization and the elimination of ballistic missile programs, a much brighter future lies ahead for North Korea and its people", a spokesman for the State Department told the New York Times.

New analysis of satellite images suggest that, despite promises to the contrary, North Korea may be continuing to develop its nuclear missile program rather than dismantling it.

Thirteen pro-North Korea and progressive civic groups announced Wednesday that they have established a joint committee that will support Kim's visit to Seoul, Chosun Ilbo reported.

A North Korean missile base is active as of November and has stayed "well maintained" despite agreements from Pyongyang to denuclearize, according to USA analysts on Monday.

"I don't see a kind of ground breaking or new information really", said Daniel Pinkston, a lecturer at Troy University in Seoul, adding the Sakkanmol site the report highlighted "has been known for a long time, for at least 20 years".

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The bases, according to experts, tend to be "rudimentary in nature" and feature underground tunnels for the storage of transporter erector launchers (TELs) and mobile erector launchers (MELs) that could be rolled out and dispersed to pre-prepared launch sites.

The Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) thinktank in Washington however has published satellite photographs of a short-range ballistic missile operating base near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) capable of accommodating medium-range missiles and threatening U.S. forces in the region.

Photo An unidentified military facility next to the Sakkanmol missile base.

Nort Korea "engages in an aggressive camouflage, concealment, and deception program with regard to its ballistic missile force", the CSIS report says.

But South and North Korea have conducted a number of inter-Korean projects created to lower tensions, including joint sports and cultural events, closing some guardposts along their shared border, and regular high-level negotiations.

"During today's meeting, the two Koreas primarily discussed where and in what ways they will conduct field examinations with regard to roads along their eastern and western coasts and agreed to have further discussions", the ministry said in a text message sent to reporters.

President Trump is still expected to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and top Korean officials in January.

About 500 United States and South Korean marines began military drills last week that were among joint exercises indefinitely suspended in June as Seoul and Washington focused on engaging with North Korea.

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