Less than a week after monitoring group 38 North suggested North Korea were dismantling rocket launch sites, news has emerged that the rogue nation are in fact increasing their arsenal.
According to intelligence leaked to the Washington Post, US spy satellites have detected activity at a factory responsible for building North Korea’s ICBM missiles.
The activity has been detected at the Sanumdong facility, just outside of Pyongyang, where North Korea have been known to produce the Hwasong-15 missile, an ICBM that can reportedly reach the US.
According to officials who spoke to The Washington Post, North Korea appeared to be building one or two new liquid-fuelled ICBMs at the Sanumdong facility.
This is a significant turnaround from last week’s reports that suggested Kim Jong Un’s government were complying with Donald Trump’s wishes to de-escalate the tension between North Korea and the USA by dismantling launch sites.
Donald Trump had professed that he and Kim Jong Un had built up a strong relationship following their summit in Singapore on June 12th and claimed that North Korea will begin to denuclearise.
Although the Sanumdong facility is not believed to produce nuclear warheads, it is a clear sign that the North Korean government are not as willing to de-escalate tension and comply with United States’ wishes as Donald Trump has claimed.
Despite the activity, it is unlikely that this latest development will cause any imminent threat to the United States, as these rockets take significant time to fuel, which would likely be detected by US intelligence well before a strike could be launched.
However, this is a damning development for those who believed Trump was beginning to broker peace with the rogue nation.
Perhaps this change in circumstances will prompt Donald Trump to ensure that neutral experts are deployed to oversee North Korean denuclearization, rather than continue with his current strategy of trusting that Kim Jong Un will carry out this process.
Whether he does or not, it is clear that denuclearization of North Korea will not be as easy as the president had initially laid out.