North Korea denuclearisation still achievable in Trump's first term

North Korea denuclearisation still achievable in Trump's first term

The website 38 North and the Center for Strategic and International Studies used commercial satellite imagery to track construction at the site - which they said began before last week's failed summit in Hanoi between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The US State Department has declined to comment on the development.

In return, Washington would ease the pain of the crippling sanctions that have strangled the isolated North's economy.

Michael Fuchs, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under the Obama administration said at this time it is was still hard to determine the state of relations following the summit.

"That seems to be backtracking" which "the Kim regime would not be very happy about", Mr Aum added.

"Nobody in the administration advocates a step-by-step approach".

Kim Yeon-chul, a pro-engagement scholar who has headed the state-run Korea Institute for National Unification and a nominee for South Korean Unification Ministry is seen in this undated picture provided by the Presidential Blue House and released by Yonhap on March 8, 2019.

Before the summit, it was thought North Korea might decommission that site in exchange for the USA agreeing to a formal statement ending the Korean War and perhaps relief from some sanctions.

That created the impression that Washington could be willing to countenance the step-by-step disarmament and sanctions relief sought by Pyongyang.

However, the a State Department official warned that the US would regard any launch into space as a violation of Trump and Kim's good relationship.


Analysts say that Kim Jong Un had a lot invested in the summits, and didn't want to be seen as failing in the immediate wake of the summit. "We still believe this (denuclearisation) is all achievable within the President's first term, and that's the time-table we are working on".

After rounds of failed negotiations, chief delegates from the two countries last month agreed on Seoul paying about 1.04 trillion won ($924 million US) in 2019 for the USA military presence, up from about $830 million previous year.

"You already see things starting to spiral downwards", Ms Town said.

Following the stalemate in Hanoi, researchers said this week that Pyongyang had started rebuilding the Sohae long-range rocket site after Kim had agreed past year to shut it as part of confidence-building measures.

At the leaders' summit, Kim apparently offered to dismantle part of the North's nuclear facilities in exchange for a near complete lifting of economic sanctions against his country.

The increase in activity is around a site known as Sanumdong, where North Korea assembled most of its ballistic missiles and rockets.

She said why North Korea was doing this now is unconfirmed.

So what next? Washington hopes to resume working-level talks as soon as possible, and has reacted in a measured way to revelations about the rebuilding of the rocket test site. Though the Trump Administration is naturally blaming North Korea, most of the coverage from South Korea and other directly interested parties has suggested Trump's demands were excessive, and that the U.S. walked away when a limited deal might've yet been reached.

Over the weekend, Mr Trump delivered a speech to the Conservative Political Action Committee, during which he accused the Obama administration of allowing North Korea to send "rockets flying all over the place". "Some of the ideas are still ours and remain to be accepted by the North Koreans".

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