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In North Korea, Missile Bases Suggest a Great Deception - The New York Times
WASHINGTON — North Korea is moving ahead with its ballistic missile program at 16 hidden bases that have been identified in new commercial satellite images, a network long known to American intelligence agencies but left undiscussed as President Trump claims to have neutralized the North’s nuclear threat.

The satellite images suggest that the North has been engaged in a great deception: It has offered to dismantle a major launching site — a step it began, then halted — while continuing to make improvements at more than a dozen others that would bolster launches of conventional and nuclear warheads.

The existence of the ballistic missile bases, which North Korea has never acknowledged, contradicts Mr. Trump’s assertion that his landmark diplomacy is leading to the elimination of a nuclear and missile program that the North had warned could devastate the United States.

“We are in no rush,” Mr. Trump said of talks with the North at a news conference on Wednesday, after Republicans lost control of the House. “The sanctions are on. The missiles have stopped. The rockets have stopped. The hostages are home.”

His statement was true in just one sense. Mr. Trump appeared to be referring to the halt of missile flight tests, which have not occurred in nearly a year. But American intelligence officials say that the North’s production of nuclear material, of new nuclear weapons and of missiles that can be placed on mobile launchers and hidden in mountains at the secret bases has continued.

And the sanctions are collapsing, in part because North Korea has leveraged its new, softer-sounding relationship with Washington, and its stated commitment to eventual denuclearization, to resume trade with Russia and China.

Moreover, an American program to track those mobile missiles with a new generation of small, inexpensive satellites, disclosed by The New York Times more than a year ago, is stalled. The Pentagon once hoped to have the first satellites over North Korea by now, giving it early warning if the mobile missiles are rolled out of mountain tunnels and prepared for launch.

But because of a series of budget and bureaucratic disputes, the early warning system, begun by the Obama administration and handed off to the Trump administration, has yet to go into operation. Current and former officials, who said they could not publicly discuss the program because it is heavily classified, said there was still hope of launching the satellites, but they offered no timeline.

The secret ballistic missile bases were identified in a detailed study published Monday by the Beyond Parallel program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a major think tank in Washington.
northkorea 
24 days ago by toddmundt
Undeclared North Korea: Missile Operating Bases Revealed - Beyond Parallel
Though the subject of speculation by open-source researchers for years, new research undertaken by Beyond Parallel has located 13 of an estimated 20 North Korean missile operating bases that are undeclared by the government.
The first of these reports by Beyond Parallel will focus on the missile base at Sakkanmol, one of the closest to the demilitarized zone and to Seoul, South Korea.
These missile operating bases, which can be used for all classes of ballistic missile from short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) up to and including intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), would presumably have to be subject to declaration, verification, and dismantlement in any final and fully verifiable denuclearization deal.
Missile operating bases are not launch facilities. While missiles could be launched from within them in an emergency, Korean People’s Army (KPA) operational procedures call for missile launchers to disperse from the bases to pre-surveyed or semi-prepared launch sites for operations.
The dispersed deployment of these bases and distinctive tactics employed by ballistic missile units are combined with decades of extensive camouflage, concealment and deception practices to maximize the survival of its missile units from preemptive strikes and during wartime operations.
The KPA’s Strategic Force—responsible for operating ballistic missiles—is both sizable and capable of inflicting significant damage even when its missiles are armed with only conventional warheads.
Since his assumption of power in 2011, Kim Jong-un’s emphasis upon realistic training and increased operational readiness has extended to the Strategic Force.
northkorea 
24 days ago by toddmundt
Why a U.S. "Left of Launch" Strategy Would Backfire in North Korea
If a conventional war were to begin on the peninsula, with nuclear escalation a present risk, the United States and its allies would seek to promptly disable or destroy North Korea’s nuclear assets. In this telling, left-of-launch capabilities are a desirable addition to whatever kinetic action might be possible. If taking out North Korea’s physical weapons would take multiple rounds of aircraft sorties in a conflict, for example, left-of-launch capabilities might provide that extra edge necessary to prevent nuclear annihilation. But when one considers that North Korea already knows all of this, the costs of left-of-launch quickly begin to outweigh the benefits.

Pyongyang is likely to interpret the publicized U.S. interest in left-of-launch techniques in the worst possible way. For instance, the unclassified May 2017 document describing “pre-conflict left-of-launch operations” stated that they would be legal against an imminent missile threat without defining what would qualify as “imminent.” In the North Korean reading, the details and techniques might be novel, but this is nothing more than a disruptive and new kind of counterforce, with all of its attendant downsides. It motivates North Korea to build a larger, more diverse system, and to launch first before the United States can disarm it.

To manage and reduce nuclear tension with North Korea in the short term, the Pentagon should publish a public report on the circumstances under which the United States would employ so-called non-kinetic means to disable an adversary’s nuclear-capable systems. These remain poorly understood and reporting since 2017 can only amplify North Korean insecurities and encourage a dangerous drift in Kim’s calculations. Congress, meanwhile, should elicit testimony from Defense Department policy staff on how, if at all, the United States is working to manage risks as it pursues these capabilities. Finally, as part of the diplomatic process with North Korea, the United States should explore avenues by which Pyongyang might privately communicate components of its nuclear doctrine. 

Critics may point to the risks of this offering legitimacy to North Korea’s arsenal, but the benefits of managing nuclear dangers outweigh this largely symbolic cost. Whether U.S. policymakers want to accept it or not, North Korea is the United States’ third nuclear-armed adversary. To defend U.S. allies and the U.S. homeland requires Washington to make a serious effort to understand Kim’s thinking about his arsenal.
northkorea 
24 days ago by toddmundt
Twitter
As the world is obsessed with the 's nuclear weapons real change is happening in Korea. We should not do…
NorthKorea  from twitter_favs
28 days ago by sextopus
In North Korea, Missile Bases Suggest a Great Deception
North Korea is moving ahead with its ballistic missile program at 16 hidden bases that have been identified in new commercial satellite images, a network long known to American intelligence agencies but left undiscussed as President Trump claims to have neutralized the North’s nuclear threat.

The satellite images suggest that the North has been engaged in a great deception: It has offered to dismantle a major launching site — a step it began, then halted — while continuing to make improvements at more than a dozen others that would bolster launches of conventional and nuclear warheads.

The existence of the ballistic missile bases, which North Korea has never acknowledged, contradicts Mr. Trump’s assertion that his landmark diplomacy is leading to the elimination of a nuclear and missile program that the North had warned could devastate the United States.

“We are in no rush,” Mr. Trump said of talks with the North at a news conference on Wednesday, after Republicans lost control of the House. “The sanctions are on. The missiles have stopped. The rockets have stopped. The hostages are home.”

His statement was true in just one sense. Mr. Trump appeared to be referring to the halt of missile flight tests, which have not occurred in nearly a year. But American intelligence officials say that the North’s production of nuclear material, of new nuclear weapons and of missiles that can be placed on mobile launchers and hidden in mountains at the secret bases has continued.
northkorea 
4 weeks ago by toddmundt
In North Korea, Missile Bases Suggest a Great Deception - The New York Times
The racist television clown turned out not to be such a great nuclear arms negotiator. Surprising.
NorthKorea  Nuclear  Trump 
4 weeks ago by Membranophonist
The Trump Administration’s Fantasy World | The American Conservative
“the Trump administration acts as though NK is disarming and Iran is racing to the bomb. This is the exact opposite of reality.”
nuclear  iran  War  northkorea  uspolitics 
5 weeks ago by nwlinks
Wikipedia.org: Pyongyang Department Store No. 1
Swedish journalist Caroline Salzinger (sv) described her visit to the department store as a tourist: Upon arrival, the store was closed. One of the tour guides accompanying her tried to distract her, while the other one rushed in to get the doors opened. When opened, the guide had to scramble passers-by to occupy the store as "shoppers". The moment they step in, the escalator is started. The shoppers appear clueless as to how to act in a department store. When after great pains Salzinger managed to purchase the goods she wanted, the cashier is confused and will not hand her a plastic bag for her items: "We look at each other in the eyes. She knows that something is wrong, and that not everything is like it should, but she does not know what it is." According to Salzinger, a Western diplomat monitored the department store for one hour and saw no one come out with purchased items.
wiki  northkorea  shopping  business 
8 weeks ago by mikael

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