North Korea's Kim asked China's Xi to help lift sanctions

01 July, 2018, 21:55 | Author: Sheila Harris

North Korea has stepped up its production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites in recent months, USA broadcaster NBC news reports, citing information it received from U.S. officials based on intelligence assessments.

The only uranium enrichment facility North Korea has publicly acknowledged is Yongbyon - though reports of secret facilities have surfaced.

The Washington Post reported on Saturday that USA intelligence officials have concluded that North Korea does not intend to fully give up its nuclear arsenal and is considering ways to hide the number of weapons it has.

"I don't think anybody ought to have a case of the vapors" about President Trump's rhetoric on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and Russia, Bolton said, adding that the meeting will allow the leaders to cut through the "political noise" of alleged Russian collusion. "North Korea has a long history of cheating on agreements that it's made with previous administrations", she said on CNN's "State of the Union".

A satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows the Punggye-ri test site in North Korea. Bolton added that it would be to the North's advantage to cooperate to see sanctions lifted quickly and aid from South Korea and Japan start to flow.

FILE PHOTO: White House National Security Advisor John Bolton steps from Air Force One upon U.S. President Donald Trump's arrival in West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., April 16, 2018.

One area of concern is that the president's improvised approach to the North Korea crisis could lead to war if Trump decides he has been made a fool of and is then convinced to retaliate by North Korea hawks like national security adviser (and Iraq War architect) John Bolton.

Trump made the declaration after his June summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, during which the President promised Kim to stop the "war games" by ending US military exercises with South Korea.

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"So we gave nothing". "We're well aware of what the North Koreans have done in the past". And by the way I really believe North Korea has a tremendous future.

Appearing on CBS's Face the Nation, Bolton said he did not want to comment on the reports or on "anything related to intelligence" - NBC having quoted more than a dozen senior United States intelligence officials and the Post four.

As of now, there is little proof that North Korea intends to go down that road, longtime North Korea observers say.

"Work is ongoing to deceive us on the number of facilities, the number of weapons, the number of missiles", said another.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has attempted to walk back Trump's comments, telling a Senate panel last week that North Korea still remained a nuclear threat. "If they have the strategic decision already made to do that, and they're cooperative, we can move very quickly", he added.

"I think it would be inappropriate and, frankly, counterproductive to achieving the end state that we're hoping to achieve", Pompeo said.

Bolton told CBS's "Face the Nation" that Washington has devised a program to dismantle North Korea's weapons of mass destruction - chemical, biological and nuclear - and ballistic missile programs in a year, if there is full cooperation and disclosure from Pyongyang. He is not going to make mistakes of prior administrations.

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