Monday, July 2, 2018

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: Reports of hidden N.Korea nuclear efforts raise questions in US

Reports that North Korea intends to secretly maintain some of its nuclear stockpile and production facilities raised questions Sunday about President Donald Trump’s insistence that the North was “no longer a nuclear threat,” after his historic summit in Singapore.

The Washington Post cited four unnamed US officials who, it said, had seen or been briefed on new intelligence findings that point to preparations for deceiving the United States.

The Post’s report came after NBC News said the North has been increasing nuclear weapons fuel production.

The reports followed Trump’s boast that the summit denuclearization pledge made by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had effectively ended the North’s nuclear threat, after months of inflammatory language from both sides.

The Post said the evidence of North Korean cheating had emerged since the June 12 summit, where Kim and Trump signed a pledge “to work towards complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

The stock phrase failed to clearly define denuclearization or produce a specific timeline towards dismantling the North’s atomic weapons arsenal.

It also stopped short of longstanding US demands for North Korea to give up its atomic arsenal in a “verifiable” and “irreversible” way.

On Sunday Trump stuck by his confidence in the North’s efforts.

“I think they’re very serious about it,” Trump said during during an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”

Asked how he could trust Kim’s vow to denuclearize, Trump replied: “We had great chemistry. I made a deal with him. I shook hands with him. I really believe he means it.”

The interview was broadcast Sunday but taped late in the week, before the reports of North Korean cheating emerged publicly.

“We gave nothing. What we are going to give is good things in the future,” the president said.

His National Security Advisor, John Bolton, insisted on Sunday that the administration was fully aware of North Korea’s history of deception and was not entering the denuclearization talks naively.

“There’s not any starry-eyed feeling among the group doing this,” Bolton said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Separately, he told “Fox News Sunday” that “we are using the full range of our capabilities to understand what North Korea is doing.”

Source: AFP

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