WASHINGTON: 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 US President Donald Trump at a June summit, a Washington-based think tank said on Monday (Jul 23).
The images from Jul 20 showed work had been carried out 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 programme, 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 Jun 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 specifically identify the site, but a US official subsequently told Reuters that it was Sohae.
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.