US research group says North Korea started dismantling key launch site facilities
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AP: A U.S. research group says North Korea has started dismantling key facilities at its main satellite launch site in what appears to be a step toward fulfilling a commitment made by leader Kim Jong Un at his summit with President Donald Trump in June.

An official from South Korea’s presidential office on Tuesday said Seoul has also been detecting dismantlement activities at North Korea’s Sohae launch site but did not specify. While the official said such moves could have a “positive effect” on the North’s denuclearization, analysts say such steps wouldn’t reduce North Korea’s military capabilities unless the country dismantles the whole site.

FT_Dismantling_AFP
Photo – AFP_FT

The North Korea-focused 38 North website said recent satellite images indicate the North began dismantling key facilities at the site, including a rocket engine test stand and a rail-mounted processing building where space launch vehicles were assembled before being moved to the launch pad.

“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,” analyst Joseph Bermudez wrote in the report.

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