Pompeo says North Korea test site reports consistent with commitments

North Korea economy

Satellite imagery reviewed by 38North shows North Korea dismantling key parts of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, where Kim Jong Un has presided over the launch of rockets meant to put satellites in orbit in the past.

The website said imagery indicated the North had begun taking down a processing building and a rocket-engine test stand that had been used to test liquid-fuel engines at its Sohae Satellite Launching Station.

Some experts believe North Korea is trying to build trust with the U.S. The two sides continue diplomatic talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

Duyeon Kim, a North Korean expert at the Centre for a New American Security, said: "Trump has been hit with a strong dose of reality of North Korea's negotiating style, which is always hard for Americans to understand".

"If North Korea goes further and dismantle the entire Sohae site, that would meaningfully reduce the country's long-range missile capability by eliminating a facility where it could fire multiple ICBMs in succession", Lee said.

They represent major friction points that could send the U.S. and North Korea spiraling back towards war.

"We all want diplomacy to succeed, so I am interested to hear more from Secretary Pompeo this Wednesday on his views on this development - and if he considers this to be significant", the New Jersey Democrat said in reference to the images published Monday.

President Donald Trump expressed appreciation to North Korea on Tuesday following reports that Pyongyang has started to dismantle key parts of a missile test site.

President Trump on Monday asserted that he's "very happy" with progress toward ridding North Korea of nuclear weapons, despite the stiff resistance that US officials have faced from the regime in the weeks since Trump's summit with Kim Jong Un.

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"As we have stated before, we are committed to building a peace mechanism with the goal of replacing the Armistice agreement when North Korea has denuclearized", the official added.

"We didn't expect to see anything", she told The Japan Times.

After his summit with Kim in Singapore on June 12, Trump said he was told by Kim that the North was "already destroying a major missile engine testing site" without identifying which site.

Trump pushed back against that suggestion Monday, tweeting that he is "very happy" with the progress with North Korea, noting a lack of rocket launches and nuclear tests in recent months.

Despite the skepticism in Washington, officials in South Korea said the move should be seen as a positive step forward in what is sure to be a long, slow-moving process.

During that time, Trump repeatedly stressed that he believed North Korea would follow through based on his personal read of Kim's personality.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo echoed Brook's statement, saying the challenge with North Korea is not over.

At Sohae, where cranes have been spotted tearing down an engine testing stand, the North Koreans have previously worked to develop engines for their intercontinental ballistic missiles.

However, Mount said the military consequences of a broader dismantlement would be "marginal". "We had a fantastic meeting with Chairman Kim, and it seems to be going very well".

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