No significant activity at N Korean facility, claims US-based think tank

Washington: There has been no activity of significance at the Sohae Launch facility in North Korea, according to the US-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The new report comes amidst speculations that the elusive state is planning a missile launch in the wake of the Hanoi summit between North Korea and the United States, which ended abruptly without an agreement.

“While recent activity at the Sohae Launch facility appears to have returned it to operational status after (North Korea’s) dismantlement measures earlier in the summer of 2018, there has been no activity of significance at the vertical engine test stand or launch pad since our last report on Sohae,” Yonhap News Agency quoted the US monitor as saying.

“The environmental covers on the umbilical tower and the rail-mounted launch pad remain closed concealing any activity within them. There does not appear to be a launch vehicle present,” they said, adding that the site will be monitored for further activity.

Responding to speculations of a new missile launch, US President Donald Trump outlined that he would be disappointed if Pyongyang resumed testing despite pledging denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula at the Singapore summit held last year.

A top North Korean official claimed last week that Kim Jong-un would soon decide on continuing talks with the United States and maintaining a moratorium on nuclear and missile tests following the latest summit.

Trump has maintained that the relationship between the United States and North Korea continues to be “good” despite many perceiving the Hanoi summit as a failure which has added to the stalemate between the two nations.

“Great to be back from Vietnam, an amazing place. We had very substantive negotiations with Kim Jong Un – we know what they want and they know what we must have. Relationship very good, let’s see what happens!” Trump had tweeted following the February summit.

Pyongyang sought a partial relief in sanctions during the second USA-North Korea summit which was allegedly turned down by the United States. Washington reiterated its stand on easing sanctions only when complete denuclearisation is achieved.