North Korea Ramping Up Nuclear Fuel Production at Secret Cites

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha on Friday discussed next steps following the summit. "I think they're very serious about it". "Physically we would be able to dismantle the overwhelming bulk of their programs within a year".

The Financial Times reported that Pompeo hopes to visit Pyongyang in the second week of this month.

Some experts disputed Bolton's optimistic time frame.

"I do not believe it would be possible to verify full dismantlement within a year, nor have I yet seen evidence of a firm DPRK decision to undertake full dismantlement".

The only uranium enrichment spot North Korea has acknowledged publicly exists is Yongbyon - though reports of secret facilities have surfaced.

South Korea media reported on Sunday that US envoy Sung Kim, the American ambassador to the Philippines, met with North Korean officials at the border on Sunday to coordinate an agenda for Pompeo's next visit to North Korea.

However, one official pointed out that, despite the assessment, the talks between the USA and North Korea were positive and Kim's decision to destroy a major missile-testing site and suspend nuclear and missile tests were a step forward.

It said the findings support a new, previously undisclosed Defense Intelligence Agency estimate that North Korea is unlikely to denuclearize.

When asked what would happen if North Korea does not follow through with promises of denuclearization, Trump said: "I don't want to be threatening...you've seen what was perhaps going to happen".

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 USA moves toward normalizing relations with Pyongyang.

The Washington Post reported on Saturday that us intelligence officials have concluded that North Korea is unlikely to completely denuclearize and is preparing to hide parts of its nuclear weapons program during negotiations with the U.S. "There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea".

"There is no evidence that they are decreasing stockpiles, or that they have stopped their production", one official told NBC.

On CBS's "Face the Nation", Bolton said North Korea's nuclear arsenal could be dismantled in a year if Pyongyang cooperates, adding that the program would require "full disclosure of all [of North Korea's] chemical and biological, nuclear programs, ballistic missile sites".

"There is absolutely unequivocal evidence that they are trying to deceive the U.S.", the official said, despite Pyongyang's recent curtailment of missile and nuclear tests.

"There's not any starry-eyed feeling among the group doing this", he said.

Experts have been divided on the summit, with some saying that a dialogue between the two countries is worth the effort while others have warned the United States would gain little, and there was no sign the North Koreans would give up nuclear weapons as part of these talks.

United States intelligence agencies have for at least a year believed that the number of warheads is about 65, as reported last year by The Washington Post.

Cronin, senior director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, said he had heard from US and South Korea officials that Pompeo was expected to return to Pyongyang at the end of this week and that Sung Kim was working to prepare the way for that trip. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience.

Republican Senator Susan Collins said she was troubled by the news reports.

Speaking to Fox, Trump also sought to shrink the perceived cost of the declared agreement falling through, seeking to frame his negotiations with North Korea as having been achieved without concessions.

  • Rogelio Becker