U.S. seeking second Trump-Kim meeting in NY

  • U.S. seeking second Trump-Kim meeting in NY

U.S. seeking second Trump-Kim meeting in NY

White House national security adviser John Bolton said on Sunday he believed the bulk of North Korea's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs could be dismantled within a year.

The lone weapons facility that has been acknowledged by North Korea is in Yongbyon, 60 miles north of Pyongyang. The declaration will be the first real test of the North's candour, amid increasing concern that it may be trying to hide parts of its nuclear program.

A US delegation met over the weekend with North Korean counterparts at the border between North and South Korea to discuss the next steps to implementing the June 12 summit's declaration, according to the US State Department.

USA intelligence officials also have obtained evidence that the North is considering ways to hide the number of weapons it has and its secret production facilities, according to The Washington Post.

"The expansion suggests that, despite hopes for denuclearization, Kim Jong Un is committed to increasing North Korea's stockpile of nuclear-armed missiles", David Schmerler and Jeffrey Lewis, the report's authors, wrote.

At the same time, Mr. Bolton and other officials say they're well aware that, in the past, North Korea has used the pretext of negotiations to continue on with its nuclear programs in secret.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, told NBC on Sunday that if the intelligence reports are true, North Korea is "saying one thing and doing another, nobody should be surprised".

As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo prepares to travel this week to North Korea, experts cautioned that the Trump administration's plan to dismantle the North's nuclear weapons and missiles in a year is both unrealistic and risky.

"Our goal remains the final, fully-verified denuclearization of the DPRK, as agreed to by Chairman Kim in Singapore", the official said in an emailed statement, which referred to the initials of North Korea's official name: the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The rapid timeline he proposed contrasts with more measured, methodical strategies that most North Korea experts insist are needed to produce a lasting denuclearization agreement.

While Kim may seek to turn his finished weapons into security and economic benefits, in any agreement he will also attempt to retain enough of his manufacturing and research capabilities to allow for a quick resumption of his nuclear weapons program in case diplomacy falls apart, said Hwang Ildo, a professor at Seoul's Korea National Diplomatic Academy.

Jeffrey Lewis, the director for the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at MIIS, said most of the plant was built in May, after Kim's summit with South Korean president Moon Jae-In. Bolton said it would be to the North's advantage to cooperate to see sanctions lifted quickly and aid from South Korea and Japan begin to flow into the country. "In the last eight months you haven't seen missile launches. I think they want to do it", he said in an interview that aired Sunday. "I'll likely travel back before too terribly long", the top United States diplomat said recently. "We have a very good chemistry". China uses Dandong as a base for trading with North Korea.

Pompeo will leave Washington on Thursday for Pyongyang at the start of a round-the-world diplomatic mission that will bring him to Brussels and a key North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, officials said.