Researchers have discovered a secret missile base in North Korea, which could be one out of as many as 20 undisclosed sites in the country, according to a report released Monday.
The Beyond Parallel report identified the Sino-ri Missile Operating Base, which has never been declared by Kim Jong Un's regime. Beyond Parallel, a project sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, provides strategic information for policymakers and leaders about Korean unification.
"The North Koreans are not going to negotiate over things they don't disclose," Victor Cha, one of the authors of the report, said, according to NBC News. "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."
The ballistic missile base discovery comes on the heels of Friday's White House announcement that President Donald Trump would be meeting for a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next month.
What's the background?
Last summer during their first summit, Trump and Kim signed an agreement that provided security guarantees to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in exchange for the nation's commitment to completely denuclearize.
Kim initially showed an attempt to decommission the Sohae satellite launch facility and the Punggye-ri nuclear testing site, but later the U.S. government concluded that Kim was not giving up his nuclear ambitions. In August, national security adviser John Bolton told NPR that North Korea had "not taken effective steps" to denuclearize.
What were some of the report's key findings?
The Sino-ri is an operational missile base which sits about 131 miles north of the Koreas demilitarized zone. It houses a regiment-sized unit equipped with Nodong-1 medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBM). The missiles have the capability of reaching South Korea, Japan, and Guam, according to the report.
It's one of the oldest of an estimated 20 undeclared missile operating bases. It reportedly serves as the headquarters of the Strategic Rocket Forces Nodong missile brigade. It may have also played a role in the development of the newest Pukkuksong-2 (KN-15) ballistic missile which was first tested in February 2017.
The base doesn't appear to be part of denuclearization negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea. Only operating bases that have been disclosed would be subject the agreement between the nations.
The decommissioning of the Sohae satellite launch facility "obscures the military threat to U.S. forces and South Korea from this and other undeclared ballistic missile bases," the report said.