I'd be 'very, very disappointed' if North Korea's rebuilding rocket site

There are close to 30,000 US troops stationed in South Korea and their annual drills with South Korean soldiers have always infuriated the North- with Pyongyang condemning the manoeuvres as provocative rehearsals for invasion

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US President Donald Trump told reporters on Wednesday he would be very disappointed in North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un if reports that he is rebuilding the Sohae long-range rocket launch site in the city of Tongchang-ri turn out to be true. Only a small group of worldwide media handpicked by North Korea witnessed the demolition at the Punggye-ri site. North Korea didn't immediately respond in its state media.

Dismantling parts of its long-range rocket launch facility was among several steps the North took a year ago when it entered nuclear talks with the United States and South Korea.

North Korea was later banned by the United Nations security council from carrying out the space launches, as some of its technology was similar to that used for intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs. Trump had a press conference after talks were over, during which he took Kim at his word about having no knowledge of how Otto Warmbier was treated, and that North Korea won't do any more missile or nuclear tests. The U.S. and North Korea accused each other of causing the summit breakdown, but both sides left the door open for future negotiations.

That information comes from foreign observers and a South Korean lawmaker who spoke with the South's spy service.

He quoted Suh as saying that the move could be preparation to restart long-range rocket launches if nuclear diplomacy completely collapses, or could be an attempt to add structures that could be dramatically blown up in a show of denuclearization commitment when USA inspectors visit if negotiations with Washington go well.

The IAEA chief said the agency saw indications of ongoing construction work at the light water reactor, adding they also continued to observe signs of the ongoing use of the reported centrifuge enrichment facility.

"A lot depends on how the USA reacts to what's going on", Wit said.

At the engine test stand, the website said it appears that the engine support structure is being reassembled.

The report was written by Jack Liu and Jenny Town. Beyond Parallel is "a project sponsored by the defense think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies".

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And there are a variety of views within the ERG itself, with some leading figures taking a more hardline approach than others. The same also goes for employers in Northern Ireland and captains of industry from Canary Wharf to the retail sector.

The head of the UN's nuclear watchdog said that a uranium enrichment facility in North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear site appears to be operating. After several failures, North Korea successfully launched a satellite from the site in 2012. He said Kim demanded all sanctions on North Korea end at once in exchange for closing down the Yongbyon nuclear facility.

North Korea says its satellite program is peaceful. None of the country's high-profile missile tests, including three ICBM launches in 2017, was conducted at the site. They say satellite images show the structures were rebuilt over the past month.

In 2017, it claimed it had become capable of fitting a viable nuclear weapon on an ICBM that could reach as far as the United States' eastern seaboard.

Channel News Asia on Wednesday quoted a USA government source who said the work performed at Sohae "did not seem particularly alarming, and certainly not on a scale of resuming missile tests that have been suspended since 2017". "The U.S. government believes there are at least two additional enrichment (facilities)", he said.

"The agency has not observed any indications of the operation of the 5MW (e) reactor since early December 2018", IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano said in a closed-door speech to his agency's Board of Governors, which is meeting this week.

The North began work to dismantle a missile engine test stand at Sohae previous year after pledging to do so in a first summit with Trump in June.

After a September summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, Kim agreed to "permanently shut down" the Tongchang-ri engine test ground and rocket launch pad with the participation of foreign experts.

In a statement, the two men described the move as part of a larger effort to make the Korean peninsula free from nuclear weapons.

North Korea did not, however, allow experts to witness the dismantlement of the site and verify what actually happened.

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