North Korea plotting to keep arsenal

A Capital Gazette newspaper rack displays the day's front page on Friday

A Capital Gazette newspaper rack displays the day's front page on Friday

USA 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 US officials as saying on Friday.

Appearing on a number of Sunday morning news shows, national security adviser John Bolton sought to dispel concerns that the White House is being hoodwinked.

Officials from the CIA and other intelligence agencies told NBC News the regime has increased its production of enriched uranium for the weapons despite the historic summit earlier this month between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump.

Joel Wit, a former diplomat who helped the USA negotiate with North Korea including a nuclear agreement between the US and the regime in 1994, said the USA believed the rogue regime had two sites to "enrich nuclear fuel" including Yongbyon and another, but the name of the center was not revealed.

"If they have the strategic decision already made to do that and they're cooperative, we can move very quickly", he said. "Physically we would be able to dismantle the overwhelming bulk of their programmes within a year".

USA intelligence officials, citing newly obtained evidence, have concluded that North Korea does not intend to fully surrender its nuclear stockpile, and instead is considering ways to hide the number of weapons it has and secret production facilities.

In a Fox News interview which aired Sunday, President Trump, insisted that North Korea was serious about a deal, defended his summit spectacle in Singapore, and claimed that he gave nothing to Kim - despite the fact that he made a major concession by agreeing to end joint military exercises with South Korea.

Even if North Korea's promises were honest, it could take years of work, accompanied by an unprecedented agreement to grant access to outside inspectors, before USA officials could confidently say that the weapons threat has been neutralised.

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Specifically, the DIA has concluded that North Korean officials are exploring ways to deceive Washington about the number of nuclear warheads, and missiles and the types and numbers of facilities they have, believing that the United States is not aware of the full range of their activities.

Kim is the USA ambassador to the Philippines and has been one of the key United States officials dealing with the North Koreans leading up to the Trump-Kim summit.

Kim had pledged to work toward the "complete denuclearisation" in return for security guarantees from the US.

Trump and Kim signed an agreement in Singapore that said North Korea would abandon its nuclear program, but did not specify a timeline or method for doing so.

TRUMP: I made a deal with him, I shook hands with him.

"I'll make my utmost efforts", Xi responded, according to the sources. President Trump also highlighted that he envisions a great future for North Korea.

A photo taken on May 24, 2018 shows a general view of a dust cloud surrounding the area near the entrance to a tunnel at North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test facility, during a demolition "ceremony".

"For the first time since the Singapore summit last month".

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