Another 'undeclared' missile base found in North Korea

A report issued today by the defense think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), reveals that a major "undisclosed" missile base has been found in North Korea - one of at least 20 bases that are not part of the denuclearization talks going on between the US and the Kim regime.

NBCNews:

"The North Koreans are not going to negotiate over things they don’t disclose," said Victor Cha, one of the authors of the report. "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 says the base is "clearly a mainstay of their strategic missile force," but there are no indications it is part of any discussions on denuclearization.

Situated about 130 miles north of the DMZ, Sino-ri Missile Operating Base houses the headquarters for the Korean People’s Army Strategic Rocket Forces missile brigade, a unit responsible for ballistic missiles. The base has been central to developing ballistic missiles that are capable of reaching South Korea, Japan, and even Guam, according to the report.

It's unlikely that any missile base of that size and importance is unknown to US intelligence. So while that base, and others, might be "undisclosed" to the press, Donald Trump and the Pentagon are almost certainly fully aware of them.

Beyond Parallel researchers estimate North Korea has 20 undisclosed sites where it continues to develop its ballistic missile program. Sino-ri is one of the oldest of those sites but is still operational today. Satellite photos dated Dec. 27, 2018, show an entrance to an underground bunker, hardened shelters, and a headquarters area, according to Beyond Parallel. The underground bunkers have rock and dirt berms in front that appear to protect them from artillery fire and airstrikes. The base is just under 7 square miles in size.

Sino-ri is supported by two nearby facilities, the Sobaek-su Academy and Myodu-san training area.

Policy makers are apparently nervous that Trump, during his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, might give away the store in order to get a foreign policy success:

But 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 Jong-Un. Those concerns have escalated since Trump's Syria announcement on troop withdrawal after speaking with President Erdogan of Turkey. Japanese officials in particular are "extremely nervous."

"They’re incredibly uncomfortable," the former official said.

They anticipate Trump could agree to international sanctions relief, a liaison office in Pyongyang and an end-of-war declaration, the official said, adding that North Korean officials have told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo they want sanctions relief but the end-of-war declaration is not as much of a priority.

North Korea's economy is so tightly controlled that even sanctions relief won't help it much. People will still starve to death even if international financial controls are partially lifted. Kim has made it absolutely clear that they don't want much foreign trade anyway - even food aid has been only grudgingly accepted.

It's not that important that North Korea has undeclared missile bases. US intelligence almost certainly knows where they are (if a private think tank knows, the CIA does too) and could take them out whether Kim admits to having them or not. Trump's foreign policy team is keeping the emphasis on normalization - not peace.  

To that end, a summit between the two leaders would give both men what they want. Trump's wants the appearance of a foreign policy success while Kim wants legitimacy on the world stage. 

It's not much, but for now, it will have to do.

 

A report issued today by the defense think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), reveals that a major "undisclosed" missile base has been found in North Korea - one of at least 20 bases that are not part of the denuclearization talks going on between the US and the Kim regime.

NBCNews:

"The North Koreans are not going to negotiate over things they don’t disclose," said Victor Cha, one of the authors of the report. "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 says the base is "clearly a mainstay of their strategic missile force," but there are no indications it is part of any discussions on denuclearization.

Situated about 130 miles north of the DMZ, Sino-ri Missile Operating Base houses the headquarters for the Korean People’s Army Strategic Rocket Forces missile brigade, a unit responsible for ballistic missiles. The base has been central to developing ballistic missiles that are capable of reaching South Korea, Japan, and even Guam, according to the report.

It's unlikely that any missile base of that size and importance is unknown to US intelligence. So while that base, and others, might be "undisclosed" to the press, Donald Trump and the Pentagon are almost certainly fully aware of them.

Beyond Parallel researchers estimate North Korea has 20 undisclosed sites where it continues to develop its ballistic missile program. Sino-ri is one of the oldest of those sites but is still operational today. Satellite photos dated Dec. 27, 2018, show an entrance to an underground bunker, hardened shelters, and a headquarters area, according to Beyond Parallel. The underground bunkers have rock and dirt berms in front that appear to protect them from artillery fire and airstrikes. The base is just under 7 square miles in size.

Sino-ri is supported by two nearby facilities, the Sobaek-su Academy and Myodu-san training area.

Policy makers are apparently nervous that Trump, during his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, might give away the store in order to get a foreign policy success:

But 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 Jong-Un. Those concerns have escalated since Trump's Syria announcement on troop withdrawal after speaking with President Erdogan of Turkey. Japanese officials in particular are "extremely nervous."

"They’re incredibly uncomfortable," the former official said.

They anticipate Trump could agree to international sanctions relief, a liaison office in Pyongyang and an end-of-war declaration, the official said, adding that North Korean officials have told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo they want sanctions relief but the end-of-war declaration is not as much of a priority.

North Korea's economy is so tightly controlled that even sanctions relief won't help it much. People will still starve to death even if international financial controls are partially lifted. Kim has made it absolutely clear that they don't want much foreign trade anyway - even food aid has been only grudgingly accepted.

It's not that important that North Korea has undeclared missile bases. US intelligence almost certainly knows where they are (if a private think tank knows, the CIA does too) and could take them out whether Kim admits to having them or not. Trump's foreign policy team is keeping the emphasis on normalization - not peace.  

To that end, a summit between the two leaders would give both men what they want. Trump's wants the appearance of a foreign policy success while Kim wants legitimacy on the world stage. 

It's not much, but for now, it will have to do.