Published: Wed, July 04, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

North Korea’s missile program was expanding as Trump met with Kim

North Korea’s missile program was expanding as Trump met with Kim

Following the historic US-North Korea summit last month in Singapore, the US president declared that there was "no nuclear threat from North Korea". Evidence collected since the summit points to preparations to deceive the US about the number of nuclear warheads in North Korea's arsenal as well as the existence of undisclosed facilities used to make fissile material for nuclear bombs, according to the report.

In a tweet, Mr Trump said North Korea has conducted "no Rocket Launches or Nuclear Testing in 8 months".

Siegfried Hecker, a nuclear scientist and Stanford University professor, predicted it would take around 10 years to dismantle and clean up a substantial part of North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear site.

Pompeo last visited Pyongyang in May ahead of the Trump-Kim summit and traveled there secretly in early April while he was director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

A USA delegation led by US ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim met with North Korean counterparts at Panmunjom on the border between North and South Korea on Sunday to discuss next steps on the implementation of the summit declaration, the State Department said.

In the weeks following the Trump-Kim meeting, speculation - especially in the USA media - has been mounting over whether North Korea truly intends to denuclearize and what exactly the process of denuclearization would look like.

In a wide-ranging Fox News Channel interview with Maria Bartiromo, Trump said he is confident Kim is serious.

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White House officials declined to comment the satellite images. "Then we got together, said some words".

When contacted by VOA, officials at USA intelligence agencies and other government organizations that keep track of North Korea's development of weapons of mass destruction declined to dispute the assertions in recent news reports that intelligence officials have concluded Pyongyang does not intend to fully surrender its nuclear stockpile.

The last North Korean missile test was a little more than seven months ago, on November 28, 2017.

Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California, issued a report on Monday saying recent satellite imagery showed North Korea was completing a major expansion of a key manufacturing plant for solid-fuel missiles. He also said Trump and Kim should decide whether to move the nuclear weapons out of North Korea to dismantle them or do it inside the country.

"Because verified denuclearization of the main elements of a nuclear and missile program is the best that can be hoped for, Washington has quietly begun emphasizing final, fully verified denuclearization", he said. "This is what is occurring right now as Washington and Pyongyang engage in talks to determine whether a workable deal is possible".

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is working to firm up those commitments in the wake of the summit, with the Financial Times reporting that he plans to soon visit Pyongyang.

"I'll leave it up to our diplomats at the State Department to continue the work they started at the summit", said Pentagon spokesman Col. Robert Manning.

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