Pompeo: North Korea dismantling test site as promised

Secretary of State says reports that North Korea has started dismantling facilities at rocket test site are consistent with its commitment.

Elad Benari,

Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo

Reports that North Korea has started dismantling facilities at a rocket test site are consistent with a commitment Pyongyang made at a summit last month, but it must go further and fully denuclearize, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

On Monday, new commercial satellite imagery was published of North Korea’s main satellite launch facility, the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, indicating that the North has begun dismantling key facilities.

Pompeo said Tuesday after meetings with his Australian counterpart in California that the United States had been pressing North Korea to allow inspectors on the ground when the Sohae site was dismantled, something also “consistent” with a commitment by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Singapore summit in June with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Asked at a joint news conference what further steps were needed by North Korea, Pompeo said, “They need to completely, fully denuclearize. That’s the steps that Chairman Kim committed to.”

During the historic Trump-Kim summit in Singapore last month, the two leaders signed an agreement including a commitment to achieve total denuclearization of Korea, with promises to pursue “vigorous negotiations” to that end.

Subsequent reports suggested that despite its commitment to denuclearize, North Korea has continued to expand infrastructure at nuclear and missile sites.

Last week, Trump voiced confidence that Kim would “honor” his commitment to denuclearize.

U.S. officials have repeatedly said North Korea has committed to abandoning the program, but Pyongyang has offered no details as to how it might go about this.