Donald Trump scoffs at report about secret North Korea missile bases, calling them ‘normal, nothing new’
- Trump dismisses revelations about 13 missile bases, undeclared by North Korea, saying ‘I will be the first to let you know if things go bad’
US President Donald Trump said Tuesday that the United States was aware of undeclared North Korean missile bases revealed by US researchers this week but insisted all was fine.
“We fully know about the sites being discussed, nothing new – and nothing happening out of the normal,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“I will be the first to let you know if things go bad!” he said.
Researchers at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a prominent Washington think tank, on Tuesday said that satellite imagery had found 13 missile bases undeclared by North Korea.
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. Just more Fake News. I will be the first to let you know if things go bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2018
The bases can be used to hide mobile, nuclear-capable missiles, the study said, warning that North Korea could preserve the sites – and the ability to attack – even as it negotiates with Trump on a potentially landmark accord.
Trump described a report on the findings by The New York Times as “inaccurate” and “fake news.”
The 13 sites in question are among an estimated 20 bases, small and dispersed across North Korea, that are believed to have underground facilities containing mobile launchers that can be quickly dispersed to other locations, according to the report from Beyond Parallel, a group at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
Although not designed as launch sites, the bases could be used to launch short-range as well as intercontinental ballistic missiles, according to the report.
The report’s findings appeared to undermine the Trump administration’s claims that its outreach to Pyongyang is making progress in getting Kim Jong-un’s regime to give up its nuclear weapons programme. But experts argue that the country hasn’t made any commitment to dismantle such missile bases yet, so the fact that it would maintain them doesn’t in itself represent a breakdown in talks with the US.
South Korean officials also played down the report’s findings, as did John Bolton, the US national security adviser.
“I don’t comment on matters that may or not pertain to intelligence,” Bolton told reporters Tuesday on the sidelines of regional summits in Singapore. “Obviously, we’re very well aware of what’s going on in North Korea.”
But Senator Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement that Trump was “getting played by Kim.”“We cannot have another summit with North Korea – not with President Trump, not with the secretary of state – unless and until the Kim regime takes concrete, tangible actions to halt and roll back its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes,” Markey said in a statement Monday.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg