North Korea: Satellite Imagery Identifies Undisclosed Missile Operating Bases

Saul Bowman
November 15, 2018

A USA think tank said on Monday it had identified at least 13 of an estimated 20 undeclared missile operating bases inside North Korea, underscoring the challenge for American negotiators hoping to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

USA analysts said Monday they have located 13 secret North Korean missile development sites, underscoring the challenge that the Trump administration faces in trying to reach its promised broad arms control agreement with Pyongyang.

Background: North Korea pledged to the United States that it would break down its Sohae satellite launch site and appeared to make an effort toward fulfilling this promise by dismantling key parts of the site, although satellite imagery indicates that progress on dismantling was halted in August.

They suggest Pyongyang is continuing its missile work, even though it has halted test launches in what President Donald Trump and his Government have claimed as a success since his historic June meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore.

A US think tank said on Monday it had identified at least 13 of an estimated 20 undeclared missile bases inside North Korea, underscoring the challenge for American negotiators hoping to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

North Korea declared its nuclear force "complete" and halted missile and nuclear bomb testing earlier this year, but US and South Korean negotiators have yet to elicit from Pyongyang a concrete declaration of the size or scope of the weapons programs, or a promise to stop deploying its existing arsenal. "Ukraine", South and North Korea create a dictionary to understand each other. At a summit in Pyongyang in September, the two Korean agreed to disarm the Joint Security Area (JSA) in Panmunjom, disarm 11 DMZ guard posts on a trial basis and conduct a joint excavation of soldiers killed during the war.

Under doveish South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Seoul has pursued a policy of engagement with its isolated, nuclear-armed neighbor, in contrast with the United States which insists pressure should be maintained on Pyongyang until it denuclearizes.

There is also evidence of improvements and maintenance at other known North Korean missile sites.


The bases, according to experts, tend to be "rudimentary in nature" and feature underground tunnels for the storage of transporter erector launchers (TELs) and mobile erector launchers (MELs) that could be rolled out and dispersed to pre-prepared launch sites.

The bases are arranged in 3 belts across North Korea, according to the report, with those for strategic missiles deep inside the country.

Three types of missile bases were identified in the photos, including long-range facilities holding weapons which could potentially reach the US.

The secret missile bases are, notably, not launch sites. The US said it would vet Russia's list, but administration officials have previously said Moscow is already violating the restrictions.

Medium-range missiles capable of striking Japan and all of South Korea reportedly are deployed in an operational belt 55 to 100 miles (90 to 150 kilometers) north of the demilitarized zone.

With North Korea and the U.S.in a stalemate again, it remains to be seen how the latest report will affect their talks, and possibly the planned second North Korea-U.S. summit slated for early next year.

Last week, talks between US Secretary Mike Pompeo and senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol were delayed but neither countries revealed a reason for the postponement.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER