Researchers found a previously unknown secret ballistic missile base in North Korea which could be one of as many as 20 undisclosed missile sites in the country, NBC News reports.
According to a report from Beyond Parallel, a project sponsored by the defense think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the Kim regime never disclosed the existence of its Sino-ri Missile Operating Base, which is about 130 miles north of the DMZ. The report also estimated that North Korea has 20 undisclosed locations where they are continuing to develop its ballistic missile program.
The news comes after President Donald Trump announced that he "looks forward" to meeting with Chairman Kim Jong Un next month "at a place to be announced at a later date."
Trump has repeatedly complained that the media was not giving him enough credit for forcing concessions from North Korea, which has vaguely agreed to denuclearize but has shown little in the way of progress.
"The Media is not giving us credit for the tremendous progress we have made with North Korea,” Trump complained Friday.
Victor Cha, one of the report’s authors, said that Kim is playing Trump.
"The North Koreans are not going to negotiate over things they don’t disclose," he explained. "It looks like they’re playing a game. They’re still going to have all this operational capability," even if they destroy their disclosed nuclear facilities.
Cha was previously named by Trump as his pick to be the ambassador to South Korea but his nomination was withdrawn over policy disagreements he had with the administration.
US officials, allies worry over new Trump-Kim summit:
“A former senior U.S. official briefed on the current negotiations says administration officials and America's allies in the region are nervous that Trump will give up a lot without getting much, if anything, during the upcoming summit with Kim,” NBC News reported. “Those concerns have escalated since Trump's Syria announcement on troop withdrawal after speaking with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. Japanese officials in particular are ‘extremely nervous.’”
"They’re incredibly uncomfortable," the former official said, adding that they’re concerned Trump could agree to sanctions relief on North Korea.
"They all know that you’ve got to get to the president and that the president, because he doesn’t study that much, is probably an easy mark," the former official said. "This is a leader game. They’re all trying to get to him. That’s why there’s so much anxiety."
Experts downplay Trump rhetoric:
“The Trump administration says the discussions with the North have already produced progress by lowering tensions, and that the regime has not conducted new missile or nuclear tests since the diplomacy began,” NBC News reported.
But Jung Pak, a former US intelligence officer who is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, warned "tensions have been reduced. But the North Korean threat has not been reduced. Those are two different things."
"Credible Korea experts and watchers assess that Kim is highly unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons," Pak told NBC News.
"I can’t find anybody in the U.S. who thinks the North Koreans are denuclearizing," a former senior US official added. "There was a reluctant conclusion that they had to roll the dice on another summit" to get negotiations moving again.