For most of 2018, President Trump has been tooting his horn as the great negotiator who forced Kim Jong un and North Korea to the table. He has showered praise on the dictator, a sharp contrast to the Twitter wars they had in the past. Now, it seems that negotiations may be falling apart.
On top of that, it now appears North Korea has continued to work on their nuclear and missile programs the whole time.
Located within the Tactical Belt in North Hwanghae province, 85 km north of the DMZ and 135 km northwest of Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is the Sakkanmol missile operating base (38.584698° 126.107945°).1 Although occasionally and incorrectly referred to as an “underground missile storage” facility, it is a forward Hwasong-5/-6 missile operating base subordinate to the Strategic Force of the Korean People’s Army (KPA), which is responsible for all ballistic missile units.2 The base is located near the point where the three counties of Pongsan, Sohung, and Yontan in North Hwanghae province meet. Disambiguation of references to reported missile bases in these counties indicates that they are actually referring to the Sakkanmol missile operating base. This is likely true for references to a missile base at Togol, 9.5 km to the northeast, and may also be true for a reported ballistic missile unit in the Sariwon area, 31 km to the west.3
According to former CIA station chief Daniel Hoffman, North Korea is just trying to wait us out. They are trying to wiggle out of sanctions while simultaneously breaking them through secret deals with countries like Russia and China.
Was this all just a big con job? Did the North Koreans take advantage of President Trump’s desire for a foreign relations win? Are these latest revelations signs that they will not negotiate in good faith? It seems so.