Satellite images indicate North Korea has begun dismantling key facilities at a site used to develop engines for ballistic missiles, in a first step toward fulfilling a pledge made to U.S. President Donald Trump at a June summit, a Washington-based think tank said on Monday.
The July 20 images showed work at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station to dismantle a building used to assemble space-launch vehicles and a nearby rocket engine test stand used to develop liquid-fuel engines for ballistic missiles and space-launch vehicles, the 38 North think tank said.
“Since these facilities are believed to have played an important role in the development of technologies for the North’s intercontinental ballistic missile program, these efforts represent a significant confidence-building measure on the part of North Korea,” it said in a report.
Trump told a news conference after his unprecedented June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that Kim had promised that a major missile engine testing site would be destroyed very soon.
Trump did not identify the site, but a U.S. official subsequently told Reuters that it was Sohae.
The 38 North report comes amid growing questions about North Korea’s willingness to live up to the commitments Kim made at the summit, particularly to work toward denuclearization.
U.S. officials have repeatedly said North Korea has committed to giving up a nuclear weapons program that now threatens the United States, but Pyongyang has offered no details as to how it might go about this.
On Friday, senior U.S. officials called on Kim to act on his promise to give up his nuclear weapons and said the world, including China and Russia, must continued to enforce sanctions on Pyongyang until he does so.
On Monday, the U.S. State Department issued an advisory together with the departments of Treasury and Homeland Security alerting businesses to North Korea’s sanctions-evasion tactics.
It said they should “implement effective due diligence policies, procedures, and internal controls to ensure compliance with applicable legal requirements across their entire supply chains.”
In a tweet early on Monday, Trump rejected “Fake News” that he was angry because progress was not happening fast enough with North Korea.
“Wrong, very happy!” he said in the Tweet.
“A Rocket has not been launched by North Korea in 9 months. Likewise, no Nuclear Tests. Japan is happy, all of Asia is happy,” he said.
A report in The Washington Post at the weekend said that in spite of positive assessments Trump has given on progress with North Korea, he has vented anger at aides over a lack of immediate progress.
Last week, Trump said there was “no rush” and “no time limit” on denuclearization negotiations.
U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said on Thursday it was technically possible for North Korea to eliminate its nuclear weapons program within a year, but added that it was not likely to happen.
Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by James Dalgleish
White House turmoil as Trump aides Mnuchin and Navarro get in ‘knockdown, drag-out’ yelling match: report
According to a report from the Washington Post, a discussion in the Oval Office over social media platform TikTok collapsed into a shouting match between Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and trade advisor Peter Navarro while Donald Trump sat and watched.
One spectator described it as “knockdown, drag-out” brawl.
The Post reports Mnuchin was under the understanding that he had convinced Trump to allow a sale of TikTok to Microsoft, only to run into a roadblock put up by Navarro arguing for a total ban.
WATCH: CNN uses video to bust Trump for lying and stealing credit for veterans program signed by Obama
Reacting to Donald Trump's abrupt departure from his Saturday press conference after he was pressed by a CBS White House correspondent Paula Reid for lying and taking credit for a veterans bill signed into law by former President Barack Obama, CNN's Victor Blackwell shared clips of the former president announcing the signing in 2014 and Trump attempting to steal credit yesterday.
According to Blackwell, "One of President Trump's go-to lies is his role in passing Veterans Choice. You saw it at the end of the news conference when he walked away. Well that was when he was faced with a question why he said that he passed Choice and Accountability for the V.A."
Nagasaki marks 75 years since atomic bombing
The Japanese city of Nagasaki on Sunday commemorated the 75th anniversary of its destruction by a US atomic bomb, with its mayor and the head of the United Nations warning against a nuclear arms race.
Nagasaki was flattened in an atomic inferno three days after Hiroshima -- twin nuclear attacks that rang in the nuclear age and gave Japan the bleak distinction of being the only country to be struck by atomic weapons.
Survivors, their relatives and a handful of foreign dignitaries attended a remembrance ceremony in Nagasaki where they called for world peace.
Participants offered a silent prayer at 11:02 am (0202 GMT), the time the second and last nuclear weapon used in wartime was dropped over the city.