Satellite images show activity at North Korean missile base

North Korean sends top diplomat to key ally China

North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho leaves the airport after his arrival in Beijing China

Two North Korean missile bases have been active and expanding, according to analysis of satellite images by CNN.

The images appear to show that Yeongjeo-dong missile base and another, previously undiscovered, nearby site remain active.

Yeongjeo-dong has always been known to USA intelligence agencies but researchers at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey said that the construction on a new facility, at Hoejung-ri, seven miles away, had not previously been publicly identified.

"North Korea and the United States appear to be making headway", a high-ranking South Korean government source told the Hankyoreh paper. Trump's National Security Advisor John Bolton said the North has not lived up to those commitments yet.

China is the North's most important economic and political partner, but has signed on to United Nations economic sanctions aimed at pressuring leader Kim Jong Un to abandon his drive to develop nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles to deliver them. "Moreover, in the past year North Korea has significantly expanded a nearby facility that appears to be another missile base", the report said, adding that it was not known if the bases were separate or if one was subordinate to the other.

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"We watch North Korea very closely", Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Chris Logan told CNN.

The State Department declined to comment, saying it doesn't discuss intelligence matters.

North Korea's foreign minister was due to arrive in key ally China Thursday for talks that come amid stalled efforts to persuade Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear weapons programs.

Satellite images have picked up activity at a North Korean missile base.

China fought on North Korea's behalf during the Korean War, and while ties have grown frosty at times, Xi hosted Kim for three summits in China this year, both before and after Kim's meeting with Trump.

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Bolton said the U.S. would press ahead with a second meeting shortly after the start of the new year - saying, "January, February" - in the hope of making further progress.

Some analysts say the activity is geared toward the continual development of nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles that could reach the USA mainland.

Last month, Vice President Mike Pence told NBC News that the United States will not require North Korea to provide a full list of its nuclear and missile sites before Trump meets again with Kim.

The Chinese foreign ministry said on Tuesday Ri was expected to meet his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and "exchange in-depth views" on bilateral relations; the situation on the Korean peninsula; and other issues of mutual concern. "These shelters are similar to the ones seen at the older portion of the Yeongjeo-dong base".

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