President Donald Trump has boasted that North Korea is “no longer a Nuclear Threat” after he reached an agreement with Kim Jong-un — but new satellite imagery shows the country’s missile program is moving forward.
New commercial satellite images show 16 hidden bases that contradict Trump’s claim that his diplomatic efforts led to the elimination of a nuclear and missile program that North Korea warned could reach the United States, reported the New York Times.
North Korea has halted missile flight tests, which haven’t taken place in nearly a year, but American intelligence officials say production has continued for nuclear material, new weapons and missiles that can be launched from secret bases.
The Pentagon had hoped to track those mobile missiles with smaller, inexpensive satellites, but that early warning system — begun by the Obama administration — has stalled through a series of budget and bureaucratic disputes under the Trump administration.
The secret ballistic missile bases were identified by the Beyond Parallel program, led by North Korea expert Victor Cha, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.
“It’s not like these bases have been frozen,” Cha said. “Work is continuing. What everybody is worried about is that Trump is going to accept a bad deal — they give us a single test site and dismantle a few other things, and in return they get a peace agreement (to formally end the Korean War.”
Trump has said he and Kim “fell in love” during their June 12 summit in Singapore, and that softening of relations has allowed North Korea to bypass sanctions and resume trade with Russia and China.
The State Department issued a statement that suggests the U.S. believes the sites must be dismantled.
“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 said.