NKorea rebuilding nuke test site, likely preparing for more nuke and missile tests
On Tuesday, NBC News reported that researchers at Beyond Parallel have photos showing North Korea is pursuing the “rapid rebuilding” of a major rocket launch site, and evidence suggests they may be gearing up to resume missile testing:
Sohae Satellite Launching Station, North Korea’s only operational space launch facility, has been used in the past for satellite launches. These launches use similar technology to what is used for intercontinental ballistic missiles.
“This renewed activity, taken just two days after the inconclusive Hanoi Summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, may indicate North Korean plans to demonstrate resolve in the face of U.S. rejection of North Korea’s demands at the summit to lift five UN Security Council sanctions enacted in 2016-2017,” the analysts said. As NBC News reported, Beyond Parallel, a project sponsored by the defense think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), recently identified 20 undisclosed missile sites in North Korea.
The news is an extra humiliation for Trump, given that he failed to achieve anything at the summit, and given that he already decided to cancel annual military exercises with South Korea. He even excused Kim from any blame for the death of American student Otto Warmbier, who was tortured in a North Korean prison and never woke up from a coma after being returned to the U.S.
It is also a humiliation for Trump because, at last week’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), he boldly proclaimed that “the one thing we have … is we have no testing, no missiles going up, no rockets going up. No nuclear testing.” The work being done to reconstruct Sohae suggests that they may have plans for more missile tests shortly.
Top US Commander in Europe begs for someone to stop Trump
Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the top U.S. commander in Europe, warned Congress on Tuesday that the American military is failing to adequately counter Russian aggression in the region.
He said that he is uncomfortable “with the deterrent posture” and added, “In light of Russia’s modernizing and increasingly aggressive force posture EUCOM recommends augmenting our assigned and rotational forces to enhance our deterrence posture.”
It was a notable break with the views of President Donald Trump, who frequently praises Russian President Vladimir Putin and insists that the Kremlin could be a strong ally for the United States. The comments paralleled those made by the U.S. intelligence chiefs when they appeared before Congress and exposed their sharp breaks with the president regarding his views of the threats to national security.
Samantha Vinograd, a CNN national security analyst, said Tuesday that she considered Scaparrotti’s comments to be a “public cry for help.”
“Let’s put this in the context, of course, of President Trump saying he’s been the toughest president alive on Russia,” she said. “His own generals don’t agree with that statement. Gen. Scaparrotti did something today that military commanders, in my experience at least, traditionally try to do behind closed doors. They traditionally try to ask the president and the secretary of Defense for more resources privately, really so that you don’t air your dirty laundry in a public setting and give any advantage to an enemy when it comes to showing how the U.S. government is feeling about our defense posture.”