Sunday, 19 August, 2018

Bolton: N. Korea Could Dismantle Nuclear Program Within a Year

Pompeo heading to NKorea as doubts mount US secretary of state returning to North Korea to shore up denuclearisation plan
Patty Aguilar | 03 July, 2018, 20:37

Three weeks after the U.S.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to meet with North Korean officials soon to continue negotiations. But many experts say nothing it has done is consequential enough to be seen as a sign that the country is willing to fully surrender its nukes.

If Kim does visit NY in September, it will be the longest journey he has ever taken as North Korean leader.

National security adviser John Bolton told CBS' "Face the Nation" that he thinks North Korea can dismantle its weapons programs within a year.

But it's still unclear whether Pyongyang would agree to that.

It will be Pompeo's first visit to North Korea since the June 12 summit in Singapore between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, at which the North Korean leader agreed to "work toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula". But recently disclosed information has contradicted that claim.

The Washington Post reported yesterday that North Korea was considering ways to hide its nuclear weapons and secret production facilities.

On his trip to the Sinuiju Textile Mill built in the late 1950s, Kim said that the factory has contributed to propping up the country's light industry for decades but expressed displeasure that its workers have not lived up to such a "proud tradition".

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The Pentagon declined to address intelligence reports on North Korea's nuclear capability when asked on Monday, saying only that the USA military remains postured to "deal with any and all threats on the peninsula" with the goal of allowing "diplomats the space and the time to hopefully make progress coming out of the summit".

The analysis is now being circulated among other United States intelligence agencies to see if they concur, the first official said. He spoke with the foreign ministers of China, Japan and South Korea in recent days about the situation with the North, according to the State Department, which has declined to comment on any upcoming travel. Even that was viewed as bullish by nonproliferation experts considering the scale of North Korea's weapons program and its history of evasion and reluctance to allow verification of disarmament agreements. 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. In each of his two previous trips, he met with Kim.

Sung Kim is a former USA envoy for North Korea and led policy negotiations with Pyongyang in advance of the summit.

In both trips, the chief USA diplomat met with the North's leader. -South Korea war games.

Doubts over North Korea's intentions have deepened amid reports that it is continuing to produce fissile material for weapons. This would be something of a reversal of a normal denuclearization process in which inspections of nuclear facilities and sites come before a verifiable dismantling of nuclear assets.

USA officials have been vague or dismissive when asked whether Pyongyang has provided a full and detailed accounting of its nuclear program and arsenal - a requirement if monitors are to reliably monitor its destruction.

Asked how he could trust Kim's vow to denuclearize, Trump replied: "We had great chemistry".

Trump had promised their talks resulted in the denuclearization of North Korea.

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