Trump says nuclear talks with North Korea talks ‘going…

Friday, 06 Jul, 2018

No remains have been returned almost three weeks after the summit, although the United Nations Command has moved coffins to the border among other preparations.

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

"In the last eight months you haven't seen missile launches, you haven't seen nuclear-you haven't seen the nuclear detonations".

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will head to North Korea this week to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and discuss detailed steps for North Korea's denuclearization, three weeks after the historic US-North Korea summit, the White House said.

It's unclear whether Pyongyang would agree to that.

The satellite images, taken by San Francisco-based Planet Labs Inc. and analyzed by researchers at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies (MIIS) in Monterrey, show Pyongyang finishing construction at the Chemical Material Institute, which researchers say is based in the North Korean city of Hamhung.

In a sign the two sides are stepping up diplomacy, the US ambassador to the Philippines, Sung Kim, led a delegation to the tense border area on Sunday in the highest-level meeting with the North since the June 12 summit. But recently disclosed information has contradicted that claim.

US intelligence is not certain how many nuclear warheads North Korea has.

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.

"This is not like North Korea cheating or deceiving the US because they've made no commitments". The officials insisted on anonymity to discuss sensitive assessments about a country that has always been one of the most hard targets for spy agencies to penetrate.

Trump's national security adviser John Bolton, who has taken a hardline on the reclusive country, recently said in a media interview that the United States has a plan that would lead to the dismantling of North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs in a year. "We've seen how the North Koreans have behaved before", Bolton said.

Even if North Korea's promises were honest, it could take years of work, accompanied by an unprecedented agreement to grant access to outside inspectors, before US officials could confidently say that the weapons threat has been neutralized. Saying there were no concessions made by Washington, President Trump also highlighted that he envisions a great future for North Korea.

The result has left much of the hard work to Pompeo. The move led to a set of diplomatic breakthroughs, including two summits between Kim and President Moon Jae-in.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said he plans to meet with Kim to "flesh out" details of the nuclear disarmament promise, but has insisted the North Korean leader is serious.

USA intelligence agencies have for at least a year believed that the number of warheads is about 65, as reported last year by The Washington Post.

The men and women national basketball teams of South Korea left on Tuesday for North Korea to play friendly matches amid the ongoing rapprochement on the peninsula.

South Korea's Hyundai business group built a basketball stadium in Pyongyang during a previous era of rapprochement between North and South Korea, and a joint game was played there in 2003.

There have been reports Kim's regime has failed to honor its denuclearization pledge after the June 12 meeting. Trump administration officials have deflected criticism of the agreement, describing it as the first step in a negotiated process to persuade Kim to give up his arsenal. On CBS's Face the Nation this weekend, Bolton asserted that, if North Korea agreed, "we would be able to dismantle the overwhelming bulk of their programs within a year". Kim has also met with China's President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump. Bolton added that it would be to the Norths advantage to cooperate to see sanctions lifted quickly and aid from South Korea and Japan start to flow.

The national security adviser added that "there's nobody involved in this discussion with North Korea in the administration who is overburdened by naïveté".