New analysis of satellite photos shows that North Korea is involved in “producing or modifying” long-range nuclear missiles that threaten the United States, according to NBC News.
The commercial satellite images from Planet Labs show that a temporary factory that houses the launcher arm has expanded, according to Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. The new analysis arrives amid growing concern among U.S. military and intelligence officials that North Korea will conduct a long-range missile test in the next few days or weeks.
“There is activity at a number of locations indicating that North Korea is laying the groundwork for an expansion of their ICBM program—more systems, more buildings, more capabilities,” Lewis said in a statement. North Korea halted nuclear and long-range missiles tests in 2017 after Kim Jong Un and President Trump engaged in diplomatic talks and two summit meetings, but his regime recently warned of a “Christmas Gift to the United States.” U.S. Air Force Gen. Charles Brown, head of Pacific Air Forces, said the “gift” could be “some kind of long-range ballistic missile.” Kim has reportedly visited the facility three times since August 2017. “An expansion of the plant increases its capability to produce trucks for both civilian and military use,” Lewis wrote.
Meanwhile, here is a collection of Trump’s comments about North Korea.
“I was really being tough and so was he (North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un),” Trump said. “And we would go back and forth. And then we fell in love. No really. He wrote me beautiful letters.”
“They were great letters. And then we fell in love,” he continued.
In early December 2019, at a NATO summit in London, Donald Trump declared that “we have peace” with North Korea and that he had a better “personal relationship” with Kim Jong Un than the dictator had with possibly anyone else “in the world.”
June 2018, upon returning from meeting Kim Jong-Un in Singapore: “Just landed—a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future! Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea. President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer—sleep well tonight!”
“Funny to watch people who have failed for years, they got nothing, telling me how to negotiate with North Korea,” President Trump had tweeted out in response to the rash of unsolicited advice. “But thanks anyway!”