Report identifies over 20 secret North Korean missile bases

One of the undeclared ballistic missile operating bases even serves as a missile headquarters

Photo: European Space Agency, Beyond Parallel Overview of the Sino-ri missile operating base, December 27, 2018

With a second US - North Korea nuclear summit looming in late February, researchers have discovered a secret ballistic missile base in North Korea. But it is only one of as many as 20 undisclosed missile sites in the country, a new report from Beyond Parallel - a defense think tank, sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) reveals. News comes after an announcement Friday that President Donald Trump "looks forward" to meeting with Chairman Kim Jong Un next month "at a place to be announced at a later date" to continue talks on denuclearisation.

According to the report the newly discovered Sino-ri Missile Operating Base is situated about 130 miles north of the DMZ and houses the headquarters for the Korean People’s Army Strategic Rocket Forces missile brigade, a unit responsible for ballistic missiles. Moreover, it has been reportedly central to developing ballistic missiles that are capable of reaching South Korea, Japan, and even Guam.

"The Sino-ri missile operating base and the Nodong missiles deployed at this location fit into North Korea’s presumed nuclear military strategy by providing an operational-level nuclear or conventional first strike capability against targets located both throughout the Korean Peninsula and in most of Japan. The base continues to be defended against preemptive attack by nearby anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air positions," the report states.

But while it is "clearly a mainstay of their strategic missile force," there are no indications it is part of any discussions on denuclearisation, since it has never been declared by North Korea, so it could not be subject to declaration, verification, and dismantlement in any denuclearisation deal.

"The North Koreans are not going to negotiate over things they don’t disclose," Victor Cha, one of the authors of the report, stated. "It looks like they’re playing a game. They’re still going to have all this operational capability," even if they destroy their disclosed nuclear facilities.

In that regard, Beyond Parallel researchers estimate that North Korea has another 20 undisclosed sites where it continues to develop its ballistic missile program, with Sino-ri is being one of the oldest of those sites.

"While diplomacy is critical, and should be the primary way to resolve the North Korean nuclear problem, any future agreement must take account of all of the operational missile base facilities that are a threat to US and South Korean security," the researcher further insist.

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