Activity ‘all the time in N. Korea,’ won’t speculate: Bolton on new satellite images

The national security adviser to President Donald Trump said he doesn’t want to speculate on new commercial satellite images published Tuesday, which seem to show a rapid rebuilding of a launch site in North Korea, but added that “there’s a lot of activity all the time in North Korea.”

“I’d rather not get into the specifics on that,” John Bolton said of the images. “The United States government — I’ll just put it this way — spends a lot of resources and efforts so we don’t have to rely on commercial satellite imagery. We’ve seen a lot in North Korea. We watch it constantly. … There’s a lot of activity all the time in North Korea, but I’m not going to speculate on what that particular commercial satellite picture shows.”

On Tuesday, the Center for Strategic International Studies’ (CSIS) Beyond Parallel published satellite images taken on March 2 that show new activity at the Sohae (Tongchang-ri) launch facility in the northwestern part of North Korea. The images appear to show a rapid rebuilding at the country’s main site for long-range satellite launches and missile-engine testing.

The facility has been inactive since August, following President Donald Trump’s Singapore summit with North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un earlier that summer. During the summit, Kim committed to dismantling a launch facility.

The renewed activity at the launch site was detected just two days after the second Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, which failed to reach an agreement to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. However, Trump told reporters that like the Singapore summit, Kim had committed not conducting nuclear or ballistic missile tests.

Asked about the images on Wednesday, Trump said “it’s too early to see” if North Korea is breaking a promise by rebuilding the site.

“I would be very disappointed if that were happening. It’s a very early report,” Trump said. “But I would be very, very disappointed in Chairman Kim. And I don’t think I will be, but we’ll see what happens. We’ll take a look. It’ll ultimately get solved.”

On Saturday, CSIS’s Beyond Parallel published more satellite images taken on Wednesday and Friday that appear to show work has continued at the site.

This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

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