U.S. President Donald Trump has weighed in on a report that North Korea has at least 13 undeclared bases capable of hiding missiles, calling the report “fake news.”
“The story in the New York Times concerning North Korea developing missile bases is inaccurate,” he said, referring to information revealed in a report by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies and shared by The New York Times. “We fully know about the sites being discussed, nothing new — and nothing happening out of the normal.”
He added in his tweet, “I will be the first to let you know if things go bad!”
The report released Monday said its conclusions are based on commercial satellite imagery, interviews with North Korean defectors and interviews with U.S. intelligence and government officials.
Joseph Bermudez, one of the authors of the study, said the findings are noteworthy.
“I would say that North Korea’s basic missile threat and its nuclear threat which would use the ballistic missiles as its delivery system remains very significant and has not changed in the last 10 years,” Bermudez said.
The report said the North Korean bases, which can be used to house ballistic missiles of various ranges, are well-hidden, indicating the North’s determination to conceal its military abilities.
It said the bases are “combined with decades of extensive camouflage, concealment and deception practices to maximize the survival of its missile units from pre-emptive strikes and during wartime operations.”
The report said there might be as many as 20 such undeclared bases in North Korea. It said they are scattered across the country and designed so that mobile missile launchers can quickly be taken out of the underground facilities and moved to launch sites.
Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged during a historic June meeting in Singapore that they would work toward denuclearization, but they pledged little specifics in achieving their goal.
Since the summit, North Korea has not carried out any nuclear or missile tests and has dismantled a missile test site.
Last week, North Korea abruptly called off a new round of negotiations with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in which the two countries were to discuss denuclearization efforts and prepare for a possible second summit between Trump and Kim.
North Korean state media on Monday accused the United States of carrying out some small-scale military drills with South Korea, saying the drills violate their agreement to lower tensions on the Korean peninsula.