Sunday, 20 October, 2019

U.S. believes North Korea planning to trick West, hide nukes

Patty Aguilar | 02 July, 2018, 06:49

In both of his Sunday appearances, Bolton also refused to answer questions about reports from NBC News and the Washington Post, in which anonymous USA intelligence officials say North Korea has been ramping up its production of nuclear fuel at multiple secret sites and coming up with ways to deceive the us about the scale of its nuclear weapons program.

Over a dozen unnamed officials told NBC reporters Courtney Kube, Ken Dilanian and Carol E. Lee that intel analysts' findings show the regime's increased efforts to produce enriched uranium for nuclear weapons - all while trying to milk as many concessions out of the Trump administration as it can.

"We're going to try and proceed to implement what the two leaders agreed to in Singapore, but rather than have a series of reports - things are going better things are not going well, they are concealing this, they're not concealing that - really it doesn't serve the objective of advancing the negotiations", Bolton said Sunday.

The facility makes solid-fuel, ballistic missiles-which would be able to strike USA military installations in Asia with a nuclear weapon with little warning-as well as re-entry vehicles for warheads that Pyongyang might use on longer-range missiles able to hit the continental U.S.

At the summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore in June, the two leaders signed an agreement in which the North committed "to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula".

Asia expert Patrick Cronin called the NBC and Washington Post reports "extremely worrisome". "We're well aware of what the North Koreans have done in the past".

That doesn't mean Trump was foolish for engaging Kim and seeking a deal. The Financial Times reported that Pompeo was due to visit North Korea this week but the State Department has not confirmed any travel plans.

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Pompeo told CNN late last month that he would not set a deadline for the denuclearization of North Korea and would "constantly reassess" whether enough progress is being made to continue negotiations.

"The reports are showing that they haven't just not frozen their program, they're enhancing their production capabilities, and they're trying to hide activities at multiple secret production sites", Vinograd said.

"We have developed a program", Bolton said, "...about really how to dismantle all of their WMD [weapons of mass destruction] and ballistic missile programmes in a year".

In May, the North blew up its aged but only nuclear test site at Punggye-ri - where it had staged six atomic tests - in a show of goodwill before the summit. They also pointed out that North Korea has made similar agreements in the past, only to renege.

Xi, however, apparently tried to temper North Korea's rapid moves to get closer to the United States.

U.S. intelligence agencies believe North Korea has increased production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites in recent months and may try to hide these while seeking concessions in nuclear talks with the United States, NBC News quoted USA officials as saying on Friday. "I don't think there's any doubt about that".

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