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

10 US senators criticise Suu Kyi for representing military’s interest

Suu Kyi is in the Hague defending Myanmar from genocide accusations. Ten US Senators have severely criticized Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi for representing the military’s interest before the International Court of Justice and defending the mass atrocities committed against the Rohingyas and other ethnic minorities. “Representing the Burmese military’s interest before The Hague and defending the mass atrocities committed against the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities would undermine what remaining credibility you have before the international community, including in the US Congress,” said a letter to Suu Kyi issued on December 9. The Senators said a defense of the Burmese military at this high-profile international forum is also an affront to the inclusive, multi-cultural and democratic Burma that she claims to champion. They said when Buddhist nationalism is on the rise in


By Daily Star
December 13, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

India under Modi is moving systematically with a supremacist agenda, says PM Imran

Imran Khan made the comments after India passed a controversial citizenship requirement. Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday that India, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been moving systematically with a Hindu supremacist agenda. The prime minister was referencing the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill passed by India’s upper house amid protests on Wednesday. The bill will let the Indian government grant citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants who entered India from three neighbouring countries before 2015 — but not if they are Muslim. Modi’s government — re-elected in May and under pressure over a slowing economy — says Muslims from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan are excluded from the legislation because they do not face discrimination in those countries. Taking to Twitter, Prime Minister I


By Dawn
December 13, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

China, US in constant touch to resolve trade issues

China and the United States are in constant touch to resolve pending trade and economic issues, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday. The comment came ahead of Sunday’s US deadline for another scheduled round of tariff increases on Chinese imports worth almost $160 billion. If a trade deal is not struck by Sunday, computer monitors and toys will be among the Chinese export items likely to be affected. Gao Feng, a ministry spokesman, said the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council has already worked out tariff exemptions on some soybean, pork and other products shipped from the US — the latest sign of tensions easing in the protracted trade conflict. The US seems to resort to brinkmanship by using a tariff deadline to pressure China in the ongoing trade talks for a phase one, preliminary deal, said Chen Wenling, chief economist at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges


By China Daily
December 13, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

US warns N. Korea against ‘ill-advised’ action

North Korean threats unlikely to succeed in bringing the US to the table. A top US diplomat warned North Korea on Thursday against taking any “ill-advised” action in light of its veiled threats to resume nuclear and long-range missile tests. David Stilwell, US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, made the remark as North Korea has threatened to take a “new way” unless the US offers concessions in their stalled denuclearization negotiations before the end of the year. Washington has urged Pyongyang to stick to its commitment to cease nuclear and long-range missile tests, saying they would be count


By The Korea Herald
December 13, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

India, China step up the wooing but Rajapaksa in no hurry to align Sri Lanka

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will try to balance the competing interests of China, India in the region. The conversation in regional capitals after the emphatic win of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the Sri Lankan elections last month centres around a central question: Will he manage to pull a Sheikh Hasina on India and China? The reference, of course, is to the Bangladesh Prime Minister who many believe has managed to successfully push her country’s interests by balancing the competing strategic ambitions of China and India in South Asia. And Rajapaksa knows a thing or two about protecting what he believes are his country’s core interests. After all, he braved the Western world’s intense criticism – and India’s acute discomfort given its large domestic Tamil population – of the means adopted by him as Defence Minister in his brother and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s


By Ishan Joshi
December 12, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Nepal moves up in Human Development Index but still lags behind in South Asia

Nepal’s human development index of 0,579 indicates that people are living longer, are more educated and have greater incomes, according to the Human Development Report. Despite global progress in tackling poverty, hunger and disease, a ‘new generation of inequalities’ indicates that many societies are not working as they should and Nepal is not an exception, according to a new human development report released on Tuesday. The old inequalities were based on access to health services and education whereas the new generation of inequalities is based on technology, education and the climate, according to the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report. “Previously, we talked about wealth as a major driver for inequality. Now, countries like Nepal are in another inequality trap and that concerns


By The Kathmandu Post
December 12, 2019