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Trump pleased as NKorea seen dismantling launch site parts

However, Mr Trump today said he was "very happy" with the progress in relations with North Korea, saying Pyongyang had not launched any missiles or carried out any nuclear tests during the last nine months.

Commercial satellite images show key facilities, including the rocket engine test stand, being razed at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, according to 38 North.

New satellite imagery shows "that North Korea has begun the process of dismantling a key missile site, and we appreciate that", Trump said at an event for military veterans in Kansas City, Missouri. Other parts of the facility - such as newer fuel/oxidizer bunkers and a large vehicle garage - appear to have not been touched. One corner has been completely dismantled and the structural members can be seen lying on the ground. They're still doing these things in advance of an agreement as confidence building measures to show their commitment to the negotiating process.

The factory visit was the latest of a series of site inspections by Kim, including industrial facilities and special economic zones near North Korea's border with China, according to state media, after Kim shifted his focus from nuclear missiles to the economy in April. "Likewise, no Nuclear Tests".

A TV screen shows a satellite image of North Korea's Sohae launch site during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul South Kore Tuesday
Report says images indicate North Korea dismantling test site facilities

Trump rejected "Fake News" that he was angry because progress was not happening fast enough with North Korea.

Mr. Trump was likely referring to an article in The Washington Post on Sunday that claimed the president was frustrated with the lack of immediate progress.

If confirmed, the analysis by respected US-based website 38 North could signal a step forward after last month's landmark summit between Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump, although some experts questioned the significance of the gesture.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the imagery was "entirely consistent" with commitments Kim made to Trump during their summit in Singapore.

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Regarding what the U.S. needs to see happen going forward, Pompeo said, laughing, "It is really pretty straightforward".

At the time, the president did not name the site, though media reports quoting unidentified USA officials later identified it as Sohae - the newest and largest of North Korea's several known major missile-testing facilities.

Pompeo made the remarks after he and US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley met with UN Secretary-General António Guterres, as well as with leaders from Japan, South Korea and the entire UN Security Council on Friday.

"Most of all, retiring an old nuclear site or missile launch pad has absolutely no relevance to the cold reality that North Korea owns an operational nuclear weapons and ballistic missile arsenal whose capabilities continue to grow".

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Gasoline prices in North Korea have almost halved since late March, market data analyzed by Reuters shows, adding weight to suspicions that fuel is finding its way into the isolated economy from China and elsewhere despite United Nations sanctions.

Lewis's novel presumes that diplomatic negotiations ultimately fail and the Trump administration again ramps up its military pressure tactics, including the resumption of joint military exercises with South Korea that Trump recently suspended, and flying USA fighter jets and bombers close to the inter-Korean border in a demonstration of military force.

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