Friday, 14 December, 2018

North Korea plotting to keep arsenal

Blood on his hands’ #Resistance rushes to blame Trump for Annapolis attack Leah Millis Reuters
Steven Clarke | 01 July, 2018, 21:53

On "Face the Nation" and "Fox News Sunday", Bolton refused to talk about a Washington Post report that USA intelligence officials have concluded North Korea does not intend to fully surrender its nuclear stockpile and is preparing to deceive the USA about the number of nuclear warheads in its arsenal and the existence of undisclosed facilities used to make fissile material.

The only uranium enrichment facility North Korea has publicly acknowledged is Yongbyon - though reports of secret facilities have surfaced.

US officials told NBC News they believe North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un might try to hide more nuclear facilities while he continues talks with Trump.

"I don't think anybody ought to have a case of the vapors" about President Trump's rhetoric on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and Russia, Bolton said, adding that the meeting will allow the leaders to cut through the "political noise" of alleged Russian collusion. "There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea".

CNN published satellite photos last week showing infrastructure upgrades in the works at Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center, a major nuclear research site in North Korea.

Speaking to Fox, Trump also sought to shrink the perceived cost of the declared agreement falling through, seeking to frame his negotiations with North Korea as having been achieved without concessions.

"I'm sure that the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, will be discussing this with the North Koreans in the near future, about, really, how to dismantle all of their WMD and ballistic missile programs in a year", Bolton said on "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

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"So we gave nothing".

He said the administration was well aware of North Korea's track record over the decades in dragging out negotiations with the U.S.to continue weapons development.

Various North Korea experts have underlined the importance of the new report, both in regards to what it contains, as well as the fact that USA officials felt compelled to leak it. Sharing the assessment with the media could indicate the severity with which the US intelligence community disagrees with President Trump's statements on the matter, or could be part of some kind of authorized strategy to expose the sites and build pressure on North Korea - or justify future military action.

The officials insisted on anonymity to discuss sensitive assessments about a country that has always been one of the most hard targets for spy agencies to penetrate.

As of now, there is little proof that North Korea intends to go down that road, longtime North Korea observers say.

"What our experts have devised is a program that, with North Korean cooperation, with full disclosure of all of their chemical and biological nuclear programs ballistic missile sites. we would be able to dismantle the overwhelming bulk of their programs within a year", Bolton said. "If they have the strategic decision already made to do that and they are cooperative, we can move very quickly".

However, Bolton said the US does not yet have a full accounting of North Korea's nuclear arsenal. "The last best chance to avoid that war is a peaceful end to their nuclear program ... if they don't take it, and they play Trump like they've played everybody else, they're going to regret it".

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