Satellite images reveal hidden North Korean missile bases
New commercial satellite images released Monday have identified more than a dozen undeclared North Korean missile operating bases, another sign that Pyongyang is continuing to move forward with its ballistic missile program amid indications that talks with the US have stalled in recent months.
While the network of undeclared sites has long been known to American intelligence agencies, it has not been publicly acknowledged by President Donald Trump, who asserted that North Korea was “no longer a nuclear threat” following his June summit with dictator Kim Jong Un.
The CIA declined to comment on the images, but US officials have expressed concern about North Korea using hidden and undeclared locations to continue to work on improving their missile technology and possibly their nuclear program.
The new images, first reported by monitoring group 38 North published images showing Pyongyang had begun decommissioning its Sohae Satellite Launching Station.
But while that step attracted significant media attention at the time, Monday’s report states that the dismantling of the Sohae facility “obscures the military threat to US forces and South Korea from this and other undeclared ballistic missile bases.”
Collins told CNN that she believes one reason North Korea canceled the latest round of talks with Pompeo is because they might be targeting “the very top levels of negotiations” — another meeting between Trump and Kim.
However, she also warned that “you can’t get anywhere without these working-level talks because that’s where the nitty-gritty stuff happens.”
“You can’t get a verifiable list of anything unless nuclear weapons experts are part of the process,” she said. “Is President Trump going to create a list of all those facilities? Does he even know where some of these places are? I would be very skeptical.”
“There have to be working-level talks, but the North Koreans are clearly targeting a big package deal, for them, which can only happen if President Trump is there to make the decision,” Collins added. “But I think the US has been very cautious and careful to keep the negotiations moving forward at the working level and try not to have President Trump jump every time there is an offer.”