The Center for Strategic & International Studies deems the Trump Administration’s 2019 Missile Defense Review report a “good start”. That review declared North Korea an “extraordinary threat.” A recent report by the experts at CSIS has released findings which underscore North Korea’s continuing danger.
CSIS analysts have identified approximately twenty undisclosed missile bases which do not appear to be part of the US-North Korea denuclearization negotiations.
This base, Sino-ri, is identified in the report as being a key developmental and operational base for North Korean missile operations. CSIS provides background:
The Sino-ri missile operating base and the Nodong missiles deployed at this location fit into North Korea’s presumed nuclear military strategy by providing an operational-level nuclear or conventional first strike capability against targets located both throughout the Korean Peninsula and in most of Japan. The base continues to be defended against preemptive attack by nearby anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air positions.CSIS
They report that Sino-ri houses a regiment-sized unit of military personnel and contains Nodong-1 Medium Range Ballistic Missiles. As it has remained undeclared, and the United States has yet to demand its recognition, this places missiles capable of delivering nuclear payloads to the United States and its regional allies as exempt from the denuclearization talks.
Despite this, and despite continued statements and actions by North Korea indicating that they are not progressing toward denuclearization and, instead, are demanding that the United States remove any capability for a nuclear response to the Korean peninsula, a second Trump-Kim summit has been tentatively scheduled for February.
Negotiations on this topic continued recently when Mike Pompeo, then President Trump himself, met former NK spymaster Kim Yong-choi on January 18.
“President Donald J. Trump met with Kim Yong Chol for an hour and half, to discuss denuclearization and a second summit, which will take place near the end of February,” Sanders said in a statement.CBS News
While it is not unusual for an envoy of an ally to meet with the President, it is very unusual for a lower-tier representative of a hostile foreign power to have extensive, individual talks with a world leader. In diplomatic terms, it typically signals that the leader in question is in a weaker, subordinate position.
Nevertheless, President Trump seems exceptionally pleased with the state of North Korean talks.