North Korea 'making new missiles' despite U.S. pledge

The North Korea flag flutters next to concertina wire at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur

The North Korea flag flutters next to concertina wire at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur

The paper says the new intelligence does not indicate that North Korea has expanded it capabilities, but rather that it is continuing to work on advanced weapons in the weeks following the Singapore summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

On Monday, a senior USA official told Reuters that U.S. spy satellites had detected renewed activity at the North Korean factory that produced the country's first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States.

"We had expected that the USA side would offer constructive measures that would help build trust based on the spirit of the leaders' summit. we were also thinking about providing reciprocal measures", Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry said in a statement, according to The Associated Press.

Instead, senior North Korean officials have discussed their intention to deceive Washington about the number of nuclear warheads and missiles they have, as well as the types and numbers of facilities, and to rebuff worldwide inspectors, according to intelligence gathered by USA agencies.

Government officials believe North Korea is continuing to manufacture missiles in a facility near its capital of Pyongyang.

Signs of continued routine activity at Sanum-dong were reported Monday by the Washington Post, based on satellite imagery analyzed by unnamed USA intelligence officials in recent weeks. There will be hiccups, but President Trump's summit with North Korea was a positive step.

Weeks later, sources said U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that North Korea actually increased its production nuclear weapons fuel in recent months, and plans to deceive the U.S. But Trump refused to let these realities ruin the tale of his triumphant North Korea summit.

Liquid-fueled ICBMs, such as the Hwasong-15, require lead-time to make ready for launch and are therefore considered less destabilizing than solid-fueled rockets, which can quickly be prepared for a first strike.

Intelligence officials told the Post that while operations continue at the Sanumdong plant, work has come to a halt at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station on North Korea's northwest coast, where workers can be observed dismantling an engine test stand. The Post cites "officials familiar with the intelligence".

Vipin Narang, a North Korea expert and professor of global relations at MIT, noted that this was also clear from the Kim-Trump summit.

This is the same facility where the country first produced intercontinental ballistic missiles that could reach the USA, the newspaper noted.

While North Korea honored its promise to return the remains of fallen US soldiers during the Korean War, there have been troubling reports that Pyongyang will never truly disarm. In that address, the North Korean leader was unequivocal about what was next, they say.

"In Singapore I never heard the words: we will unilaterally disarm", Narang said. "They are negotiating for recognition of their nuclear weapons".

This indicated that there had not been a complete stop in activity during the summit talks.

That was the case with USA negotiations with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and more recently with Iran, "which continued to build more centrifuges capable of producing nuclear material even as it negotiated with the United States to limit those capabilities", Wit said.

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