Friday, 14 December, 2018

'possible' North Korea nuclear deal may not 'work out'

Adviser John Bolton attends a news conference in Moscow Adviser John Bolton attends a news conference in Moscow Russia
Steven Clarke | 02 July, 2018, 05:10

More than a dozen USA officials who received intelligence briefings said North Korea has actually increased its production of fuel for nuclear weapons.

North Korea has secretly stepped up its nuclear weapons programme, despite a promise to disarm, according to United States intelligence sources.

Bolton said the US has developed a program that would enable a relatively rapid dismantlement of North Korea's arsenal if the Kim regime is cooperative. Japan has also suspended public evacuation drills simulating a North Korean missile attack.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has attempted to walk back Trump's comments, telling a Senate panel last week that North Korea still remained a nuclear threat.

Despite Kim Jong Un's pledge to "complete denuclearization" in Singapore, a joint statement following the leaders' meeting failed to clearly define denuclearization or produce a specific timeline towards dismantling the North's atomic weapons arsenal.

Trump earlier declared that "there is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea", but some officials fear that Kim's latest agreement may be another set of empty promises created to secure concessions from the US while continuing to develop nuclear weapons.

TRUMP: I made a deal with him, I shook hands with him.

We know exactly what the risks are of them using negotiations to drag out the length of time they have to continue their nuclear, chemical, biological weapons programs and ballistic missiles.

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"North Korea remains free to manufacture more nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and other weapons of mass destruction - even though it has unilaterally frozen testing of its nuclear weapons and certain ballistic missiles", he said.

A satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows the Punggye-ri test site in North Korea.

Asia expert Patrick Cronin called the NBC and Washington Post reports "extremely worrisome". In the meantime, he explained, the USA has been trying to gauge North Korea's seriousness, but it seems likely that the White House has already gotten that answer in the form of the Defense Intelligence Agency assessment which was leaked to NBC News and the Post.

The assessment comes just days after a report from 38 North, a website specializing in analysis of the rogue nation, that stated North Korea was making improvements to the Yongbyon facility.

Asked about Trump's claim that the North Korea threat had been eliminated, Pompeo said Trump had meant to say only that the threat had been reduced.

Trump's words reversed his declaration upon his return from Singapore that North Korea had ended its nuclear ambitons.

"This is why people want North Korea to declare all its facilities up front", Wit said.

"North Korea has made no new commitments to denuclearisation, and in fact has backed away from its previous commitments", Abraham Denmark, Asia Program director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, told a House committee in late June.

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