North Korea may ready rocket launch, blames United States for summit flop

Trump ‘disappointed’ by North Korean missile activity reports following breakdown of nuclear talks

Full obedience or tougher sanctions: US says N. Korea’s ‘step-by-step’ denuclearization unacceptable

Earlier this week North Korea sparked outrage after satellite images revealed the nation was "rapidly rebuilding" its Sohae Launch Facility, a long-range missile launch site.

The footage's release on Wednesday night came amid reports that North Korea is restoring some facilities at its long-range rocket launch site that it dismantled a year ago as part of disarmament steps.

US President Donald Trump says he's disappointed about reports of recent activity at missile and rocket sites in North Korea.

Work to dismantle Sohae began previous year but stopped as USA talks stalled.

Provocative activity from North Korea this week has not altered President Donald Trump's willingness to engage with the regime of Kim Jong Un, a top White House official said Thursday. "But we'll see what happens", he said, in reference to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. While efforts to force North Korea to scrap its nuclear weapons have hit a snag, Trump wants to take the credit for at least getting the North to halt test launches of long-range missiles.

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The UN imposed sanctions on North Korea after it launched satellites from Sohae, which were regarded as a disguised test of missile technology.

Undeterred by the breakdown of the Trump-Kim summit, South Korea has continued to urge the United States to ease sanctions on North Korea to allow a resumption of inter-Korean economic projects and encourage more disarmament steps from the North.

"It has very much been characteristic of past negotiations to take an incremental approach to this that stretches it out over a long period of time, and quite honestly, has failed on previous occasions", the senior State Department official said.

North Korea has frozen nuclear and missile testing since 2017, and Trump has pointed to this as a positive outcome from almost a year of high-level engagement with North Korea.

Biegun, the US envoy to North Korea, gave members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee a classified update Tuesday afternoon on Capitol Hill.

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Trump said on Friday that his relationship with Kim "remains good", despite the setback in Hanoi.

"We regard all the people in our country as one family so we will unite with one mind and we will vote for the agreed candidate", the Socialist Women's Union official Song Yang-ran said ahead of Sunday's poll.

"Fundamentally, where we really need to see the progress, and we need to see it soon, is on meaningful and verifiable steps on denuclearisation".

According to senior United States officials, in the week leading up to the Hanoi summit, the North Koreans had demanded the lifting of effectively all UN Security Council economic sanctions imposed since March 2016.

Central Intelligence Agency director Gina Haspel said in January that North Korea remains committed to developing long-range missiles despite the denuclearization talks. He repeated the pledge in a summit with the South Korean president in September.

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A US-based research institute says North Korea may have restored operations at a missile assembling facility near Pyongyang. But the meeting broke down over an impasse regarding how many sites North Korea would shut down.

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