Trump dismisses NYT report on N. Korea’s hidden missile bases as ‘inaccurate’

November 13, 2018

SEOUL, Nov. 14 (Yonhap) — U.S. President Donald Trump has dismissed a news report on North Korea’s hidden missile bases as “inaccurate,” amid growing skepticism over Pyongyang’s willingness to follow through on its denuclearization commitment.

Citing a report issued by Beyond Parallel, a group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, The New York Times said earlier this week that the North is continuing its ballistic missile program at more than a dozen “undisclosed” sites identified in commercial satellite images. It said that the sites suggest a “great deception” by the North.

“The story in the New York Times concerning North Korea developing missile bases is inaccurate. We fully know about the sites being discussed, nothing new — and nothing happening out of the normal,” Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday.

“Just more Fake News. I will be the first to let you know if things go bad!” he added.

The report has reinforced doubts over whether Trump should push for a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un when the reclusive sate appears to be pressing ahead with the development of delivery vehicles for its nuclear arsenal.

The U.S. State Department did not comment on whether activity in the reported missile sites would constitute a breach of Kim’s agreement with Trump on denuclearization.

But its spokesperson said that a “much brighter future lies ahead” for the North and its people should Kim keep his commitments, including “complete denuclearization and the elimination of ballistic missiles.”

Beyond Parallel has located 13 of what it calls an estimated 20 “undeclared” North Korean missile bases. It focused particularly on Sakkanmol, an operational missile base for short-range ballistic missiles that is located 85 kilometers north of the Demilitarized Zone and 135 km northwest of Seoul.

In a commentary posted on 38 North, a website monitoring the North, Leon V. Sigal, the director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project at the Social Science Research Council, called The New York Times report “misleading.”

“Substituting tendentious hyperbole for sound reporting may convince editors to feature a story on page one, but it is a disservice to readers,” Sigal wrote.

“There is more than enough to do in negotiating constraints on and the elimination of North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats without exaggerating them and prematurely accusing Pyongyang of bad faith or calling into question President Trump’s wisdom for trying nuclear diplomacy in earnest,” the scholar added.

This image, provided by Yonhap News TV, shows U.S. President Donald Trump. (Yonhap)

This image, provided by Yonhap News TV, shows U.S. President Donald Trump. (Yonhap)