December 18, 2019 10:19
U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun left Seoul and headed to Tokyo on Tuesday without managing to meet a North Korean official at the border as he had hoped.
A government source here said, "The venue for U.S.-North Korea dialogue does not have to be [the border truce village of] Panmunjom. The U.S. is ready to hold talks with North Korea in any other location in the region if the North gives a response during Biegun's visit to Japan and is working hard to make that possible."
Following his visit to Tokyo, Biegun will visit Beijing later this week and stay there until Friday, according to the State Department.
U.S. President Donald Trump remained sanguine about any impending provocation from the North. "I'd be disappointed if something would be in the works," Trump told reporters at the White House. "And if it is, we'll take care of it. We’re watching it very closely."
The U.S. recently deployed various reconnaissance aircraft over the Korean Peninsula.
Meanwhile, there seems to be a lot of activity at North Korea's long-range rocket test site in Tongchang-ri.
The U.S. website 38 North said satellite photos of the site show "post-engine test activity." "The retractable environmental shelter has been pulled back from the engine test stand, perhaps signaling the beginning of post-test refurbishment of the stand," it said.
"Satellite imagery shows evidence that engine tests were likely conducted at the vertical engine test stand, such as vehicles around the test stand before the tests and vegetation burn around the flame bucket afterwards. The tests were hailed 'important' and 'crucial' to North Korea's ballistic missile program -- the latter reportedly having had a test duration of seven minutes."
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