North Korea developing new ICBMs, says report

File photo taken on May 5, 2018, showing a traffic policeman checking his watch near the central railway station in Pyongyang.
File photo taken on May 5, 2018, showing a traffic policeman checking his watch near the central railway station in Pyongyang. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON • US intelligence agencies have found that North Korea is building new missiles, based on satellite photographs taken in recent weeks and other new evidence.

Just weeks after a high-stakes summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Pyongyang appears to be developing at least one or two liquid-fuelled intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), The Washington Post reported on Monday, citing officials familiar with the intelligence.

The factory outside Pyongyang in Sanumdong, where the work is under way, produced the North's first ICBMs capable of reaching the United States. An image taken on July 7 shows a bright-red covered trailer in a loading area that appears to be identical to the vehicles the North has used previously to transport ICBMs.

Following the Singapore summit in June, Mr Trump had declared that Pyongyang was "no longer a nuclear threat", and touted his own diplomatic achievements. But Mr Kim did not publicly promise to end work at the country's nuclear and missile facilities, instead speaking of eventual denuclearisation.

The reported new missile construction follows Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's testimony last week in which he told senators that Pyongyang con-tinues to make nuclear fissile material, without indicating whether the country was building new missiles.

Imagery from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency suggests ongoing work on at least one Hwasong-15 ICBM at the Sanumdong plant, the Post said.

"We see them going to work, just as before," a US official told the newspaper.

But at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station on North Korea's west coast, workers can be seen dismantling an engine test stand, in line with a promise made to Mr Trump at the summit, though the move is seen as more symbolic because the facility can easily be rebuilt.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2018, with the headline 'N. Korea developing new ICBMs, says report'. Print Edition | Subscribe