North Korea appears to be taking a conciliatory tone after more than half a century of open hostility toward any country that wouldn’t give them what they wanted. Recently, they’ve entered discussions with their southern neighbors, and have even offered to talk disarmament with the United States.
It is strange, then, to hear that the ‘Hermit Kingdom’ has constructed a hidden base in Syria. However, the United States is currently monitoring what is believed to be an advanced underground military base in Syria, believed to be run by the North Koreans. The base is believed to be used for advanced weaponry and the development of nuclear weaponry.
Reports from the region indicated that the North Koreans are near to finishing work on an underground base located near Qardaha in Syria. This is the hometown of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and the base may have been under construction for SEVEN YEARS, since around the beginning of the ‘Syrian Revolution’ in 2011.
Zaman Al Wasl, a Syrian news outlet, reported earlier in March that satellite images and a local military source claimed that the base has been under construction for seven years, and speculated that the reason for tight security in the area and near the alleged base is due to North Korean plans to use it as a nuclear facility.
It also appears that the North Koreans are operating in the area, helping Assad and his military to build and repair chemical weapons facilities.
According to a State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the United States and the Trump administration, in particular, have been monitoring the situation in Syria, and are aware of the possibility of a North Korean facility being built there.
That official also said that the United States government is working to prevent a nuclear or chemical program from being built in Syria.
According to reports from the region, however, the base may well be more than simply a base for storing materials.
The design of the base, its size, and the fact that it is located in a mountain, suggest that it could be a base for enriching nuclear materials, and perhaps even for the production and storage of nuclear weaponry or warheads.
Images and satellite pictures alleged to be of the ‘base’ show that very little of the facility is located above ground, leading to no small amount of speculation about the true intent of the location.
Zaman Al Wasl has even reported on the construction of “long tunnels” that have been built since 2011, leading under the mountains, constructed under the watchful eyes of ‘North Korean experts.’
The United Nations is also aware, as they have censured North Korea for its attempts to meddle in the Syrian conflict and to help the Assad regime produce chemical weapons.
For its part, President Trump’s administration is keeping its options open concerning interactions with North Korea. The president has offered to talk to North Korean leadership but has also demanded that they disarm.
Donald Trump’s White House has also said that they are not afraid of using military force against North Korea if it comes to that.
North Korea has spent much of the last year testing their rocket technology, attempting to perfect their missile design and produce something capable of delivering a payload to the continental US.
The program has had questionable success, and also angered China, Japan, and South Korea with constant missile launches seen as attempts to bully the nations and inflame tensions in the region.
Could North Korea’s conciliatory tone at the Olympics in South Korea, and to the United States, be the result of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy and diplomacy alone?
Or, is North Korea simply hoping that they can complete their weapons production elsewhere, in exchange for helping Assad’s forces to restart their chemical weapons program?
North Korea is not a wealthy nation; much of the country is without power and the majority of its citizens do not live well or eat well when compared even with other similarly-developed nations in China.
Perhaps they entered into a terrifying and horrific partnership with Assad that will provide him with more weapons to use on his own citizens and them with more nuclear material.
Or, just as disturbing, perhaps Assad, the same individual who allegedly used chemical weapons on his own countrymen, is looking to begin a nuclear program with the help of the North Koreans.
Either outcome is disturbing, and both suggest that more nuclear weapons could wind up in the hands of rogue nations with no qualms about using the destructive devices.