North Korea 'making new missiles' despite USA pledge

A Korean veterans remembrance ceremony in 2017

When North Korea handed over 55 boxes of bones that it said are remains of American war dead, it provided a single military dog tag but no other information that could help US forensics experts determine their individual identities, a USA defense official said Tuesday.

Based on this and other evidence, USA officials reportedly believe that work is underway on at least one and possibly two liquid-fueled ICBMs at the factory.

The Sanumdong factory produced two Hwasong-15 ICBMs, North Korea's longest-range missiles, but the USA official noted that Pyongyang still had not tested a reliable re-entry vehicle capable of surviving a high-velocity trip through the Earth's atmosphere and delivering a nuclear warhead.

Other officials and analysts said North Korea's continued work on missile technology was unsurprising as Kim made no firm promises to Mr Trump during their meeting. At the time, he declined to say whether Pyongyang was building new missiles.

Observers also said that the agenda could include the issue of fostering peace around the Northern Limit Line, a de facto maritime border, and a joint project to excavate remains of troops who were killed during the 1950-53 Korean War and left in the DMZ.

The reports about new missile construction come after recent revelations about a suspected uranium enrichment facility, called Kangson, that North Korea is operating in secret.

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A joint honor guard received six repatriated service members April 12, 2007, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam that were returned from North Korea.

The 55 boxes were handed over at Wonsan, North Korea last Friday and flown aboard a US military transport plane to Osan in South Korea, where USA officials catalogued the contents.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week that North Korea was continuing to produce fuel for nuclear bombs despite its pledge to denuclearize.

Imagery from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency suggests ongoing work on at least one Hwasong-15 ICBM at the Sanumdong plant, the Washington Post said.

The process of finding and repatriating their remains has always been hampered by North Korea's reluctance to allow USA military investigators unrestricted access to battle sites, and to wring as much political capital and money out of the process of returning the remains.

Monday's reports about ongoing activities at Sanumdong are the latest to indicate that North Korea is still working on its nuclear and missile facilities, despite ongoing talks with the United States about disarmament.

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The repatriation is a breakthrough in a long-stalled United States effort to obtain war remains from North Korea.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last month that the two sides had agreed to recommence field operations in North Korea to search for the missing Americans, and the Pentagon say it is considering sending personnel to North Korea for this objective.

North Korea shows off its missiles in a parade.

North Korea had told USA officials a couple of times in recent years that it had about 200 sets of US war remains, although none was "already identified".

The five missing soldiers should be buried in the United Nations cemetery in Busan, South Korea, where 117 other Dutch soldiers who died in the conflict were laid to rest, the VOKS said. It had been used to assemble space launch vehicles and develop and test liquid-fuel rocket engines.

President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

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