North Korea has started dismantling key facilities at a rocket-engine test center, a group of experts said Monday, potentially marking a significant step after last month’s historic summit between Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.
According to the respected 38 North group, commercial satellite imagery of the Sohae satellite launching station indicates Pyongyang has begun taking down a processing building and a rocket-engine test stand that had been used to test liquid-fuel engines for ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles.
Sohae, on the northwest coast of North Korea, has been used to test rockets, with the aim of putting a satellite into orbit.
38 North analyst Joseph Bermudez called the move an “important first step” for Kim in fulfilling commitments he made to Trump during their June summit in Singapore.
The evidence of the dismantling came as American news media continued to ramp up its unfounded reporting that no progress towards denuclearization had been won by Trump after his negotiations with North Korea’s Kim. Trump had pushed back against the media in tweets and observers wondered why the media would make such contentions, especially since the media has no way of knowing. Many saw the media reporting as a political stunt to undercut the president’s accomplishment in the North Korea summit before the mid-term elections
But the evidence that North Korea is following through with their promises to Trump is now is undeniable.
Since Sohae is “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,” Bermudez said.
A US defense official, however, told AFP that the Pentagon was not closely tracking activities at Sohae in terms of how it relates to the den
On Monday, Trump said he was “very happy” with how talks were progressing with North Korea, after observers and the media highlighted an apparent lack of concrete results since the summit with Kim.
“It’s not on the radar, so to speak,” the official said.