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Trump officials lay out ambitious plan to denuclearize North Korea

05 July 2018

MYRE: I think for starters, they'd really want to see a full declaration of the nuclear program, which we've never seen before.

"The U.S. may be exploring the degree to which he will dismantle major programs within the coming months, and if dropping some language to do this is required, Washington seems willing to do that at this point", he said.

Pompeo has already visited Pyongyang twice since April to meet with Kim - the first time when he was still director of the Central Intelligence Agency - and there are discussions about a possible third trip to North Korea late next week but such a visit has not yet been confirmed.

Some experts disputed Bolton's optimistic time frame.

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

Evidence collected since the June 12 summit in Singapore points to preparations to deceive the USA about 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.

"In the last eight months you haven't seen missile launches".

Siegfried Hecker, a nuclear scientist and Stanford University professor, has predicted it would take around 10 years to dismantle and clean up a substantial part of North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear site.

The Washington Post on Saturday cited unnamed US intelligence officials as concluding that North Korea does not intend to fully surrender its nuclear stockpile.

USA officials have since been trying to flesh out an agreement that critics say is short on substance and map a route to a deal that might live up to Trump's enthusiastic portrayal of the summit outcome. Some experts think Kim is modeling his country's nuclear future after Pakistan, which began building a nuclear arsenal in the 1990s to deter India and is now estimated to have more than 100 warheads that are deliverable by short- and medium-range weapons and aircraft.

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A team of U.S. officials led by envoy Sung Kim met with North Korean officials Sunday at Panmunjom, the border village between North and South Korea in the demilitarized zone, in the first face-to-face conversations between the two countries since the summit last month according senior State Department officials.

The White House has characterized ongoing meetings as positive but not commented on recent news reports of US intelligence assessments saying North Korea has been expanding its weapons capabilities.

NBC quoted five unidentified U.S. officials as saying that in recent months North Korea had stepped up production of enriched uranium for nuclear weapons, even as it engaged in diplomacy with the United States.

Bolton refused to comment on intelligence matters but the United States was going into nuclear negotiations aware of Pyongyang's failure to live up to its promises in the past.

"We have developed a program". We've seen how the North Koreans have behaved before. But North Korean officials are suggesting that they declare far fewer.

Mr Trump, who tweeted after his summit with Kim that Americans could "sleep well tonight" because he has reduced the threat, said he believes Pyongyang will keep its word to disarm.

The claim, made by White House National Security Adviser John R. Bolton during a round of TV interviews Sunday, comes as the Trump administration is quietly accelerating negotiations with North Korea in what analysts describe as the crucial next step that will make or break the denuclearization agreement struck at the Singapore summit.

The department said in a statement Monday: "Our goal remains the final, fully verified denuclearization of the DPRK, as agreed to by Chairman Kim in Singapore".

"North Korea has made no new commitments to denuclearization, and in fact has backed away from its previous commitments", Abraham Denmark, Asia Program director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, told a House committee in late June. Collins stressed the need for "verifiable, unimpeded, reliable inspections" of the North's weapons programs.

"If it is true that they are saying one thing and doing another, nobody should be surprised", he said on NBC's "Meet the Press".

Trump officials lay out ambitious plan to denuclearize North Korea