North Korea is completing a major expansion of a key missile-manufacturing plant, said researchers who have examined new satellite imagery of the site the latest sign Pyongyang is pushing ahead with weapons programs even as the USA pressures it to abandon them.
This wasn't supposed to happen after the Donald Trump-Kim summit last month in Singapore.
Cronin, senior director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, said he had heard from USA 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.
Washington and Pyongyang have yet to negotiate a plan for how North Korea will denuclearize.
But the outlook of the North's denuclearisation efforts remain unclear at best, with the Washington Post reporting Saturday that Pyongyang plans to keep some of its nuclear stockpile and production facilities while potentially concealing them from the US. "Having apparently helped get North Korea to the table, it is unlikely that China will ever again agree to a maximum pressure campaign", arms control experts Vipin Narang and Ankit Panda noted on the eve of the Singapore summit. Even so, the White House extracted few genuine commitments from Pyongyang while it granted Kim a moment of legitimacy on the world stage and canceled planned military exercises with South Korea.
"Officials tell us that Kim would have to show progress for the meeting to occur", the report said.
United States 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.
"I think it would be inappropriate and, frankly, counterproductive to achieving the end state that we're hoping to achieve", Pompeo said. They are "only" reports but they are deemed accurate by respected North Korea watchers.
He said the one-year program the U.S.is proposing would cover all of the North's chemical and biological weapons, nuclear programs and ballistic missiles.
"Kim Jong Un was very emphatic several times in Singapore he was different from prior regimes", Bolton said".
Bolton said in the interview that if Pyongyang cooperated, the two countries could set out a path to dismantle the programs within a year and put the isolated nation of North Korea on target to receive sanctions relief. Interviewed on NBC's Meet the Press, Lindsey Graham of SC said North Korea would "regret it" if nuclear talks collapsed. Add North Korea as an interest to stay up to date on the latest North Korea news, video, and analysis from ABC News. But North Korean officials are suggesting that they declare far fewer. But he added, "There's not any starry-eyed feeling among the group doing this".
The report said the facility, located in the city of Hamnhung, makes solid-fuel and missiles that can hit U.S. military bases in Asia, and equipment for warheads that could be used to strike American soil.