Published: Thu, July 05, 2018

North Korea working to conceal key aspects of its nuclear programme

North Korea working to conceal key aspects of its nuclear programme

"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 added.

In a report on Friday, the network said what it described as the latest U.S. intelligence assessment appeared to go counter to sentiments expressed by President Donald Trump, who tweeted after an unprecedented 12 June summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that "there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea".

The summit process has certainly eased tensions, but contrary to Trump's self-aggrandizing claim that there is "no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea", the reality is that the hard work of disarmament diplomacy has only just begun.

North Korea has consistently refused in past rounds of failed negotiations to provide an inventory of its weapons program, and USA intelligence remains uncertain of how many nuclear warheads North Korea has. The official was not authorized to comment publicly on the matter and requested anonymity. There is no evidence that the KN-08 is operational but North Korea continues to develop its ballistic missile program.

Ahead of the Singapore summit, Pompeo said Trump would reject anything short of "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization".

He would spend the next two days in Tokyo where he will meet Japanese and South Korean leaders to discuss their shared commitment to the final, fully verified denuclearisation of North Korea, as well as other bilateral and regional issues, state department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.

Bolton also said Sunday on CBS that during the US-North Korea summit in Singapore, Kim was "very emphatic several times" about turning over the arsenal, which was a change from previous regimes.

But analysts say North Korea will be unwilling to cede its nuclear deterrent unless it is given security guarantees that the USA will not try to topple the regime.

"First, they would want to say that they have lots of intelligence on North Korea and that its relations with the US would go back to the past if it doesn't take practical disarmament steps", Nam said.

He said the move would also allow aid from South Korea and Japan to start flowing in. They say any solid deal will require Kim to be completely transparent about his program - at a time when intelligence reports suggest he will try to deceive the United States about the extent of his covert weapons or facilities.

On Sunday, the KCNA said that Kim had toured a cosmetics factory in Sinuiju, accompanied by his wife, Ri Sol-ju, and other senior officials.

Former UN weapons inspector David Albright told CNN on Monday that his firm has new information about a secret North Korean facility producing highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium.

The Koreas agreed to schedule the event at a meeting on sports cooperation last month.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders refused to confirm or deny reports that Kim's regime has stepped up its nuclear program since the Trump summit, rather than beginning to disarm. 'Physically we would be able to dismantle the overwhelming bulk of their programs within a year'. The missile program - what's the full scope of that and the nuclear production facilities?

Pyongyang will nearly surely insist on maintaining civilian programs, because it has in the past stressed that these programs are its sovereign right, not one that Washington can choose to grant or withhold.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump took a big step away from the brink of war at the June 12 summit in Singapore.

Nauert began answering questions about the current state of the relationship between the United States and North Korea by commending the "good spot" that relations had reached within a year.

Pompeo told CNN last week he would not put a timeline on negotiations with North Korea, but said the Trump administration will regularly assess the regime's seriousness about abandoning its nuclear program as the United States moves toward normalizing relations with Pyongyang.

Mr. Trump insisted the talks are moving "very quickly" and that he believed North Korea is serious about total denuclearization. "I'm not going to get into the details, but I can tell you that progress continues to be made", she said.

The result has left much of the hard work to Pompeo. "We go into this eyes wide open".

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