Seoul, South Korea – Three weeks after the summit between North Korea and the United States and before an imminent trip to North Korea by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a leaked US intelligence report and an analysis of Satellite data suggest that North Korea continues its nuclear and missile activities despite a promise of denuclearization.
North Korea has been bathing the United States and South Korea with gestures of goodwill in recent months, including the closure of its main nuclear testing site and the release of three American detainees. But many experts say that nothing he has done is consistent enough to be seen as a sign that the country is willing to completely surrender its nuclear weapons.
The State Department said that Pompeo will visit North Korea on its third visit to the country in the last three months. President Donald Trump's national security adviser John Bolton said Sunday that officials from Pompeo and North Korea will discuss a US plan that would lead to the dismantling of the North's nuclear and missile programs in a year.
But it's still not clear if Pyongyang agrees with that. In addition, many question whether Trump has the persistence to see through a long and costly process to completely eliminate the nuclear threat from North Korea.
A look at the latest developments in nuclear diplomacy:
NUCLEAR ACTIVITIES  Following his June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, Trump tweeted that "no longer there is a nuclear threat from North Korea. " But recently disclosed information has contradicted that claim.
The Washington Post quoted on Saturday as unidentified American intelligence officials concluded that North Korea does not intend to completely surrender its nuclear reserves. The evidence gathered since the Singapore summit points to preparations to fool the US. UU On the number of nuclear warheads in North Korea's arsenal, as well as the existence of undisclosed facilities used to make fissile material for nuclear bombs, according to the report.
The official told The Associated Press that the Post's report was accurate and that the evaluation reflected the consistent view of all US government agencies. UU The official was not authorized to comment publicly on the matter and requested anonymity.
An analysis of recent satellite photos also indicated that North Korea is completing a major expansion of a factory in the northeast that produces key parts of nuclear-capable missiles, two researchers from the Middlebury Institute for International Studies in Monterey, California, said. in a joint post on Monday.
"The expansion suggests that, despite the hopes of denuclearization, Kim Jong Un is committed to increasing North Korea's nuclear missile reserves," said Jeffrey Lewis and Dave Schmerler.
Nam Sung-wook, a professor at the University of Korea in South Korea, said the US officials or academics who spoke probably tried to put pressure on both North Korea and Trump.
First of all, they would like to say that they have a lot of intelligence about North Korea and that their relations with the United States. UU They would go back to the past if practical disarmament is not carried out. steps, "Nam said." Secondly, they probably focused (Trump), asking if North Korea cheated on him because no progress was reported in the three weeks after the summit. "
Analyst Hong Min of the Institute Unification of Seoul minimized the importance of the new revelations, saying that Pyongyang and Washington have not yet agreed detailed steps of disarmament that the North is obliged to take.
THE POMPEO MISSION
During the At the Singapore summit, Kim repeated his vague promise to work towards the "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." In exchange, Trump promised to give security guarantees to Kim and announced the suspension of military drills with South Korea, generating criticism that he did too many concessions.
The result has left most of the hard work for Pompeo.On each of his two previous trips, he met with Kim. State, US diplomat Sung Kim, who held talks with North Korean officials before the Singapore summit, also traveled to a Korean border village on Sunday to restart talks with the North.
Experts say that Pompeo will have to convince important reciprocal steps of North Korea that would firmly block the country in a disarmament process to justify the suspension of the war games between the United States and South Korea.
Hong said that Pyongyang is expected to tell Pompeo what disarmament measures it will take for the next six to 12 months, such as shutting down its plutonium production reactor and its uranium enrichment plant in its main nuclear complex.
Others say that Pompeo should aim higher and get North Korea to commit to specific disarmament schedules and abandonment of its weapons and nuclear materials at an early stage. This would be a kind of reversal of a normal denuclearization process in which inspections of nuclear facilities and sites occur before a verifiable dismantling of nuclear assets.
THE STEPS OF KIM
It remains to be seen how far Kim would go to withdraw his nuclear program, which he can see as a stronger guarantee of his survival than the security guarantees that Washington could provide. Some experts believe that Kim is shaping the nuclear future of his country after Pakistan, which began to build a nuclear arsenal in the 1990s to deter India and is now estimated to have more than 100 warheads that can be delivered with weapons and aircraft. of short and medium range. 19659026] While Kim may try to turn his finished weapons into security and economic benefits, any agreement will also try to retain enough of his manufacturing and research capabilities to allow a quick resumption of his nuclear weapons program should diplomacy It collapses, said Hwang Ildo, a professor at the National Diplomatic Academy of Korea in Seoul. Others think that Kim could try to lengthen the process and wait for the Trump administration, which last year provided a credible threat of military force against the North.
A bad result for South Korea and Japan would be for Trump to accept an agreement that eliminates North Korea's long-range missiles that pose a direct threat to the continental United States, but leaves Kim's shortest arsenal intact. This would put the security of South Korea and its alliance with the United States "at a crossroads between life and death," said Kim Taewoo, former president of the Korean National Unification Institute.
Lolita C, writer for The Associated Press. . Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.
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