There is no visible indication that North Korea has begun dismantling missile launch sites as reportedly promised, according to satellite imagery shared by 38 North.
The program, hosted by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, analyzed and posted imagery of the known locations of North Korea’s missile launch facilities on Thursday and Friday. According to the analysis, 38 North reported that it could not identify “any activity associated with the dismantlement” at any testing sites.
There are six known launch and engine testing facilities as well as two eject test stands scattered throughout North Korea.
“Of these facilities and test stands, it is likely that President [Donald] Trump’s comment on June 12 regarding the destruction of a ‘… major missile engine testing site’ was not referring to either the Iha-ri test stand—which was razed in May—or the Sinpo South Shipyard test stand that has not been used in approximately a year. And contrary to the president’s statement, both sites have been solely used for ejection tests, not engine tests or launches,” the report indicated.
Following up on our report from yesterday, recent commercial satellite imagery shows no alterations or activity to any of the #DPRK's six known launch and engine test facilities and two ejection test stands https://t.co/0EtzJ6ZvRH
— 38 North (@38NorthNK) June 15, 2018
Following the historic Singapore summit on June 12, President Donald Trump told reporters that North Korea had “blown up their missile area.” He also said that his team had secured a “commitment” from Pyongyang “to destroy the missile engine testing site” and that Kim would “close it up.” The president did not specify which precise sites he was referring to.
Since the summit, many critics have argued that Trump made numerous concessions without getting concrete promises from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. A classified Israeli report shared by Axios shed doubts on the positive spin the president put on the summit.
The report, which allegedly came from the Israeli foreign ministry, claims that the Trump administration backtracked on many of the demands it had initially insisted it would make ahead of the meeting.
“Regardless of the smiles in the summit many in Japan, South Korea and the U.S. Congress doubt that North Korea is sincere in its intentions,” the Israeli document said, according to Axios. “Our assessment is that regardless of President Trump’s statements about quick changes that are expected in North Korean policy, the road to real and substantive change, if it ever happens, will be long and slow.”
The report also called Trump’s shock decision to halt joint U.S. military exercises with South Korea a significant reversal of Washington’s former position. Trump complained that the “war games” are “very provocative” and “costly.”
The decision was also reportedly made by the president without consulting the military. U.S. Forces in Korea have “received no updated guidance on execution or cessation of training exercises,” said USFK spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Jennifer Lovett, following Trump’s announcement.
GOP Senator John McCain of Arizona also criticized Trump’s decision, calling it a “mistake,” in an official statement. He added that “unnecessary and unreciprocated concessions is not in our interests.” McCain then added: “we must not impose upon ourselves the burden of providing so-called ‘good faith’ concessions as the price for continued dialogue.”