N.Korea 'Destroying Missile Engine Test Site'

中央日報

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday claimed North Korea is destroying a missile engine test site without even being asked.

"North Korea is already destroying a major missile engine testing site," Trump said. "We agreed to that after the agreement was signed."

Trump also reported the development to President Moon Jae-in in a phone conversation he had on his flight back home. He claimed Kim reaffirmed "his unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula... He wants to do that."

It was a hefty spin on Kim's stated commitment in their joint statement to "work towards complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

It is unclear what test site Trump was talking about. The North has two leading test sites -- one in Tongchang-ri, North Pyongan Province, and another in Musudan-ri, North Hamgyong Province.

The Musudan-ri site remains unused since the early 2000s. In March last year, the North succeeded in a test of a powerful missile engine at the Tongchang-ri site. It then test-launched a Hwasong-12 medium-range missile and Hwasong-14 and 15 intercontinental ballistic missiles with engines of the same type.

If it has dismantled the Tongchang-ri site, it will be difficult for the North to develop a high-powered rocket engine for a new ICBM.

Others think the two leaders may have been talking about another missile test site in Kusong, North Pyongan Province reported by the website 38 North at Johns Hopkins University recently. But that is only a launch pad.

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