North Korea is secretly developing nuclear weapons

Jonathan Ernst  Reuters

Jonathan Ernst Reuters

USA intelligence agencies believe North Korea has secretly stepped up its uranium enrichment in recent months, while simultaneously seeking concessions from Washington for surrendering its nuclear arsenal, NBC reported Friday.

North Korea is trying to placate the President and get as many concessions as possible from his administration while at the same holding on to the nuclear stockpiles it considers essential to its longevity as a nation, according to the officials.

"There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea", Trump had tweeted after the meeting.

"There are lots of things that we know that North Korea has tried to hide from us for a long time", one USA official said.

Before Trump became the first United States president to meet a North Korean leader, he and Kim had exchanged a series of personal insults and war threats.

USA officials said Pompeo had canceled a meeting with his Indian counterpart in Washington on July 6 in order to fly to Pyongyang, the newspaper reported.

"Everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office", Trump said on Twitter shortly after arriving back in Washington.

The State Department said Pompeo had spoken to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Thursday and discussed efforts "to achieve our shared goal of the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula".

"Work is ongoing to deceive us on the number of facilities, the number of weapons, the number of missiles", one official told the network.

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Yet only two weeks later, reports emerged that upgrades at a North Korean nuclear research facility are "continuing at a rapid pace".

Four other intelligence officials vouched for the latest assessment, saying there was enough evidence to show that Kim Jong Un had no intentions of keeping the promises he made to Donald Trump. One official familiar with the intelligence report said that there was unequivocal evidence that North Korea had managed to deceive the American president.

North Korea has always been known to have at least one undeclared facility to enrich nuclear fuel, aside from Nyongbyon, its main nuclear site.

The former Commander of the US Pacific Command, Harris, faces the challenge of helping Pompeo facilitate the next step in talks with Pyongyang.

The 38 North Analysts, however, were clear in their assessment that "Continued work at the Yongbyon facility should not be seen as having any relationship to North Korea's pledge to denuclearize".

Ahead of the summit, North Korea suspended its nuclear and missile tests.

FILE - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference following a meeting with North Korea's envoy Kim Yong Chol in New York, May 31, 2018.

Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at California's Middlebury Institute of International Studies, said there were two "bombshells" in the NBC report.

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