See More on Facebook

Analysis, Diplomacy

Report of NK’s ‘undisclosed’ missile bases not new, S. Korea says

South Korea’s presidential office on Tuesday played down a new report on North Korea’s “undisclosed” missile sites.


Written by

Updated: November 13, 2018

South Korea’s government said that it’s going too far to call the North’s continued activity a “great deception” given that it has no specific agreement to dismantle or disclose the facilities mentioned in the report issued by Beyond Parallel, a group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The group said it has located 13 out of an estimated 20 missile operating bases undeclared by the secretive communist regime.

“The dispersed deployment of these bases and distinctive tactics employed by ballistic missile units are combined with decades of extensive camouflage, concealment and deception practices to maximize the survival of its missile units from pre-emptive strikes and during wartime operations,” the report said.

It said the report is largely based on satellite imagery and a number of interviews with North Korean defectors, as well as government, defense and intelligence officials worldwide.

It focused on the Sakkanmol missile base for short-range ballistic missiles, presenting a set of related commercial satellite photos taken in March.

The base in the Tactical Belt in North Hwanghae Province is located 85 km north of the Demilitarized Zone and 135 km northwest of Seoul.

“Sakkanmol currently houses a unit equipped with SRBMs but could easily accommodate more capable medium-range ballistic missiles,” it said.

Speaking about the report, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom pointed out that the source of the analysis of the Sakkanmol base is a commercial satellite.

“The intelligence authorities of South Korea and the US have far more detailed information from military satellites and are closely monitoring (it),” Kim said.

He said the facilities have nothing to do with intercontinental ballistic missiles or intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

He took issue with a related New York Times report headlined, “In North Korea, Missile Bases Suggest a Great Deception.”

The North has not promised to shut down the base, and there has been no accord or negotiations in connection with it, he stressed.

Rather, Kim said, the existence of such a missile site shows the need for talks with North Korea to get rid of its military threats.

In June summit talks with President Donald Trump in Singapore, the North’s leader reportedly agreed to dismantle the Sohae satellite launch facility near the border with China, also known as the Dongchang-ri missile base.

Kim formally reaffirmed the commitment to permanently shutting down an engine testing facility and launch pad during a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in September.

The CSIS report said the future of the long-range missile base, while gaining much media attention, obscures the military threat to US forces and South Korea from Sakkanmol and other undeclared ballistic missile bases.

It came amid lingering doubts about whether the North will submit a full list of its nuclear and missile programs and engage in serious denuclearization talks in spite of Trump’s all optimistic statements, including the talk of his good relationship with Kim.

The report is a reminder that there’s still a long way to go to eliminate the North’s major weapons program.

Park Won-gon, an international relations professor at Handong Global University, said the US government seems to have leaked the information deliberately to the CSIS in order to put more pressure on Pyongyang.

“It implies a message that ‘We know all the missile facilities in North Korea. So, it’s useless to conceal them or delay a declaration,'” he said.

He also pointed out that the North has just declared a halt to its nuclear and missile tests, not the suspension of the operation of those existing facilities and a development program itself.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Korea Herald
About the Author: The Korea Herald is the nation’s largest English-language daily and the country’s sole member of the Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis, Diplomacy

Iran sanctions alarm Korean petrochemical sector

Korea, major player in crude oil market, seeking alternative countries would drive up costs. As the US is set to end sanction exemptions for countries buying oil from Iran, South Korean petrochemical companies are anticipated to struggle in having to reduce their Iranian oil supplies. From May 2, eight nations, including Korea, Japan, China and India, will be banned from buying oil from Iran as the US government’s 180-day waiver ends. Iran is the fifth-largest exporter of crude oil to Korea, following Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the US and Iraq. Imports of crude oil from Iran to Korea accounted for 8.6 percent of total imported crude oil in February, according to Korea National Oil Corp. “We were a bit shocked. We didn’t expect a complete ban. Every company (affected) will be busy securing condensate, which is not abundant in the market,” said an anonymous official of a local firm in the petroc


By The Korea Herald
April 24, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

PM Imran’s statement in Iran comes under intense opposition attack

Khan said in Tehran that Pakistan has been used as a staging area for attacks in Iran. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s public acknowledgement in Tehran that terrorists had in the past misused Pakistani territory to undertake attacks against Iran came under a blistering attack by the opposition in the National Assembly on Tuesday. Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari defended the prime minister, saying his statement was being quoted out of context. In an unprecedented, albeit bold move, Imran, while speaking at a joint press conference with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani after a round of talks on Monday, had said: “I know Iran has suffered from terrorism [perpetrated] by groups operating from Pakistan. …we [need to] have trust in each other that both countries will not allow any terrorist activity fr


By Dawn
April 24, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Iran, Pakistan pledge to combat terrorism

Prime Minister Imran Khan met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the Presidential Palace in Tehran on Monday. During their meeting, Prime Minister Imran — who is on a two-day official visit to Iran — discussed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations and ways to further ties in diverse fields with President Rouhani, Radio Pakistan reported.


By Dawn
April 23, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Kim to visit Putin in Moscow

The meeting will take place soon according to North Korean state media. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will soon visit Russia for his first summit with President Vladimir Putin, state media reported Tuesday. Kim “will soon pay a visit to the Russian Federation at the invitation of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, president of the Russian Federation,” according to the Korean Central News Agency. “They will have talks during the visit.” = The KCNA, however, did not provide when and where they will meet. Kim and Putin are widely expected to meet in Russia’s Far East city of Vladivosto


By The Korea Herald
April 23, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

A regime change in the Maldives

It remains to be seen how recent elections will change geopolitical realities in the island nation. Earlier this month, a former president of the tiny Indian Ocean island nation of Maldives who was hounded and forced into exile after he lost power came back with a bang. 11 years after multi-party elections were mandated by the 2008 Constitution, ex-president Mohammed Nasheed was exultant as the results of the parliamentary polls came in. His Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) had won a two-third majority. The MDP, led by his close associate and President of Maldives Ibrahim Mohammed Solih who himself had narrowly won the September 2018 presidential poll, got 65 seats in the 87-member People’s Majlis (Parliament). Nasheed termed the victory “a new, yellow dawn” (the MDP’s party colour is a bright yellow) for the country, speaking in the capital Male after the results. But such


By Ishan Joshi
April 21, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

NK’s new weapons development a message to Seoul, US

Pyongyang also asks that Pompeo be removed from future negotiations. North Korea on Thursday reported the development of a new tactical weapons system, adding uncertainty to the situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula. According to the North’s Korean Central News Agency, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attended the testing of a newly developed guided tactical weapons system on Wednesday, and applauded the development as having a “very big significance” in strengthening the country’s military capabilities. The KCNA also quoted Kim as saying that “active progress in our own weapons systems is a very good development,” and claimed Wedn


By The Korea Herald
April 19, 2019