JAKARTA – The South Korean intelligence agency detected that North Korea was recovering a missile launch site that had previously been demolished after a denuclearization agreement with US President Donald Trump last year.
Yonhap news agency quoted lawmakers briefed by the South Korean National Intelligence Agency (NIS), saying that the recovery work was taking place at the Tongchang-ri launch site. The work includes replacing the roof and door of a nuclear missile launch facility.
The Yonhap report did not say when the work was detected, but news of it came days after the second summit on denuclearization between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un failed to reach an agreement last week in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Trump said at a press conference after the first unprecedented summit with Kim on June 12 in Singapore that the North Korean leader promised the main missile launcher testing site would soon be destroyed.
However, Trump did not identify the site even though a US official later told Reuters that it was Sohae Satellite Launching Ground, located in Tongchang-ri.
US government sources said that NIS was considered reliable for such problems. However, adding that the work described was apparently not too worrying.
Kim Jong-un also pledged at a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in September to close Sohae and allow international experts to observe the demolition of testing sites for missile engines and launch platforms.
US State Department spokesman Robert Palladino told a press conference that the United States “remained in touch” with North Korea, but he refused to say whether they had made contact since the summit was quoted as saying on Wednesday (03/06/2019).