Following the underwhelming results of the US-North Korea Summit in Hanoi last week, the nuclear-powered Asian nation is now being alleged of rebuilding its Sohae launch site. Satellite images suggest rapid reconstruction on the site that began mid-February
North Korea is now being alleged of rebuilding its Sohae rocket launching station, previously dismantled as a sign of cooperation post the first US-North Korea nuclear summit meeting in June 2018. According to satellite images, released late on Tuesday, reconstruction on the launch site began in February, ahead of the second summit meeting between US President, Donald Trump and North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un in Vietnam.
Post the release of initial reports about the reconstruction on Wednesday, President Trump asserted, “I would be very disappointed if that were happening.” He added, “It’s a very early report. I would be very, very disappointed in Chairman Kim – and I don’t think I will be – but we’ll see what happens. We’ll take a look. It’ll ultimately get solved.”
On Thursday, the South Korean media added to the reconstruction allegations. Reportedly, cargo vehicles were spotted lurking around Sanumdong, a site that has previously been used for producing the first Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), in Pyongyang. South Korean media house, Yonhap had released a statement by the country’s Intelligence Chief, Suh Hoon on Wednesday. He was quoted as saying that the North Korean Yongbyon nuclear complex’s uranium enrichment facilities were operating normally during the US-North Korea second summit meeting in Hanoi, last week.
The previously released satellite images, capture by 38 North (US-based North Korea program), suggest that the reconstruction at the Sohae launch site may have begun as early as February 16. According to a US think tank, The Center for Strategic and International Studies said, South Korea’s nuclear neighbour is “pursuing a rapid rebuilding.”
US National Security Advisor, John Bolton has since asserted that if North Korea fails to commit to disarmament of “nuclear weapons programs and everything associated with it” the United States will ramp up sanctions. He said, “If they’re not willing to do it, then I think President Trump has been very clear… they’re not going to get relief from the crushing economic sanctions that have been imposed on them and we’ll look at ramping those sanctions up in fact.”
Head of the US Indo-Pacific Command, Adm. Phil Davidson, on the other hand, has assured the readiness of forces and strict maintenance of UN sanctions against North Korea. He further confirmed cooperation with Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and France for monitoring any possible sanction violations by the nuclear nation.