US opposes incremental denuclearization of N. Korea: envoy
ALBILAD — President Trump finally may have realized what his intelligence officials had been trying to convey all along: that despite his diplomatic efforts with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, the latter has no intentions of “denuclearizing” as Trump understands it. In fact, Kim has been steadily adding to his weapons arsenal and nuclear infrastructure. Satellite imagery taken Friday showed preparations continuing on the launching pad at Sohae for the delivery of a rocket that could serve as a template for sending a nuclear warhead across the ocean. When reporters questioned the president last week about the possibility of Kim launching a space rocket, Trump responded that he’d be “very disappointed.”
Work being done at Sohae wasn’t all that was underway in North Korea. Following Trump’s first summit with Kim in Singapore last May, it appeared the North Koreans had blown up their major underground testing site; however, only the entrances were blown up. Although promised, no inspectors were allowed in to verify whether the facility had actually been destroyed. Commercial satellite photographs indicated buildings containing the control rooms and computers used for testing operations were carefully preserved.
In the nine months between Trump and Kim’s first and second summits, intelligence estimates are that North Korea has produced enough uranium and plutonium to fuel a half-dozen new nuclear warheads. Officials familiar with intelligence briefings given the president say the evidence was clear that North Korea was moving forward with its weapons program. Trump routinely dismisses such findings, even suggesting in a news conference in Hanoi that evidence the North was increasing its nuclear capabilities was ambiguous. “Some people are saying that and some people aren’t,” he said. The second summit abruptly ended when Kim learned the US intended trading sanctions relief for the abolition of his entire nuclear program, complex of road-mobile missiles, and chemical and biological weapons programs.