(National Sentinel) War Drums: U.S. and South Korean intelligence agencies have detected movement of missiles from a North Korean development facility, indicating either a potential test launch in the works, or deployment of the weapons.
As Reuters reports, intelligence agencies detected rockets being moved from a facility near the capital of Pyongyang, fueling speculation that the North was preparing to take new provocative actions:
The report cited an unnamed intelligence source saying South Korean and U.S. intelligence officials detected missiles being transported away from North Korea’s Missile Research and Development Facility at Sanum-dong in the northern part of Pyongyang.
The report did not say when or where they had been moved.
The missiles could be either intermediate range Hwasong-12 or intercontinental ballistic Hwasong-14 missiles, according to the report, though the missile facility at Sanum-dong has been dedicated to the production of intercontinental ballistic missiles.
A source from South Korea’s defense ministry said he could not confirm details of the report or whether there has been any unusual activities in the area mentioned.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on a visit to Beijing, confirmed for the first time that the United States has direct lines of communication with Pyongyang, telling reporters that those lines did not go through China.
As reported by The New York Times:
“We are probing, so stay tuned,” Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said, when pressed about how he might begin a conversation with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, that could avert what many government officials fear is a significant chance of open conflict between the two countries.
“We ask, ‘Would you like to talk?’ We have lines of communications to Pyongyang — we’re not in a dark situation, a blackout. We have a couple, three channels open to Pyongyang,” he added, speaking at the residence of the United States ambassador to Beijing after a meeting with China’s top leadership.
He would not say if the North Koreans had responded, beyond the exchange of threats that, in the past week, have included declarations that the country might conduct an atmospheric nuclear test and that it had the right to shoot down American warplanes in international waters.
“We can talk to them,” Tillerson said. “We do talk to them.” When asked whether those channels ran through China, he shook his head. “Directly,” he said. “We have our own channels.”
North Korean experts believe that leader Kim Jong-un will never give up his nuclear program because he sees it as guaranteeing his grip on power and continuation of the Kim dynasty.
At the same time, President Donald J. Trump has said that Pyongyang would not be permitted to build nuclear weapons and the means to threaten the United States with them.
It’s good that the White House has an open line or two of communication with North Korea. But given Kim’s resolve and the fact that a previous agreement with Pyongyang negotiated by the Clinton administration to curb its still-budding nuclear program was violated, there isn’t any reason to believe that diplomacy will resolve the problem this time.
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