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Pyongyang dismantles its main missile site

· The latest signs from North Korea in light of easing relations with the United States ·

North Korea has begun dismantling its Sohae satellite launching station, Pyongyang’s main missile centre since 2012. The announcement was made by international analysts following their examination of the structure’s satellite photographs. Despite the United States’ suspicions and accusations, North Korea has always maintained that Sohae was only a satellite launching station. Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., one of the analysts who announced the event, described the dismantling as “an important first step”, explaining that the base had an important role in the development of the intercontinental ballistic missile program.

Experts believe that the dismantling of the test site actually began in the last two weeks. This move represents, “a significant confidence-building measure on the part of North Korea”, following the June 12 summit between US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un. Just yesterday, President Trump was said to be “very happy” with the progress made until now. “A rocket has not been launched by North Korea in 9 months. Likewise no nuclear tests: Japan is happy, all of Asia is happy”, declared the Chief of the White House.

The closing of an important missile site was among the points listed by President Trump at the conclusion of the June 12 summit in Singapore with Kim Jong-un. The decommissioning of the site was seen by Seoul as a positive sign. I believe that the North “is moving step by step toward denuclearization”, observed Nam Gwan-pyo, the Director of South Korea’s Office of National Security, according to reports made by the news agency Yonhap.

Recently, a further step was taken in the movement towards detente. US and North Korean officials met in the village of Panmunjom, in the demilitarized zone located along the border between the two Koreas to discuss the repatriation of the remains of American soldiers who died in the Korean War (1950-1953).

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Sept. 23, 2018

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