North Korea expanding, not abandoning missile bases

That next summit meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un needs to have a few blank spots on the agenda to leave room for new items of business. One of them should be the latest satellite pictures showing that two of Kim’s missile bases up in the mountains are not only failing to be dismantled but show signs of ongoing work to expand them. The Independent has some of the photos and details this week.

North Korea has reportedly expanded a long-range missile base within its mountainous interior, despite a promise from Donald Trump the country was “no longer a threat”.

Satellite images obtained by CNN allegedly show Pyongyang has continued to maintain and update its Yeongjeo-dong missile base and another site nearby.

US officials have long known about the Yeongjeo-dong base, but images show construction on a new facility seven miles away not previously made public, the US news channel reported.

We already knew about the Yeongjeo-dong base (and probably the “new” one as well, but the government doesn’t show all of its cards in such matters), but this expansion of the nearby base is more disturbing. North Korea made a big show of blowing up one of its underground bases after Trump and Kim first started talking, but now it appears that they’ve been building another massive, underground complex at the same time.

I apologize for sounding like a broken record at this point, but the fact remains that North Korea’s dictator cannot be trusted. He’s a snake oil salesman of the first order, on top of being a murderous tyrant. He and his family have made numerous promises to western powers over the past few decades and they’ve been shown to be unapologetic liars time and time again.

I don’t fault President Trump for making the effort. God only knows that nothing that had been tried in the past was working. It was only fifteen months ago that Kim was detonating what he claimed was a hydrogen bomb capable of being loaded onto an ICBM. (The jury is still out on that one.) Now we’ve had more than a year of calm, with no new missile or weapons testing and Kim Jong-un has been slowly opening his border with South Korea.

In that regard, we have what at least appears to be progress on the Korean Peninsula. But the fact that North Korea is expanding their “secret” missile bases at the same time they’re talking with us about denuclearization can’t be ignored. Kim Jong-un is a liar and a murderer, so any deals he makes come with warning signals from day one. Still, John Bolton insisted this week that the next summit is going forward. We should cross our fingers and pray that these guys know what they’re doing.

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