North Korea steps up production of uranium fuel

North Korea Has Increased Production of Fuel for Nuclear Weapons Report

North Korea Has Increased Production of Fuel for Nuclear Weapons Report

On CBS's "Face the Nation", Bolton said North Korea's nuclear arsenal could be dismantled in a year if Pyongyang cooperates, adding that the program would require "full disclosure of all [of North Korea's] chemical and biological, nuclear programs, ballistic missile sites".

President Trump, following his historic but deal-less June 12 summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, made the dubious claim that there was "no longer a nuclear threat" from the country.

Japanese defense officials told the Asahi that Tokyo was following in the footsteps of the United States, which has already lowered its alert level in the Indo-Pacific region.

"This is why people want North Korea to declare all its facilities up front", Wit said.

One U.S. official with knowledge of North Korean intelligence said that "there's no evidence that they are decreasing stockpiles, or that they have stopped their production".

Intelligence officials and many North Korea experts have generally taken a more cautious view, noting that leader Kim Jong Un's vague commitment to denuclearise the Korean Peninsula is a near-echo of earlier pledges from North Korean leaders over the past two decades, even as they accelerated efforts to build nuclear weapons in secret.

The lone weapons facility that has been acknowledged by North Korea is in Yongbyon, 100 kilometres north of Pyongyang. However, Bolton said the US does not yet have a full accounting of North Korea's nuclear arsenal.

The assessment stands in stark contrast to President Donald Trump's exuberant comments following the summit, when he declared on Twitter that "there is no longer a nuclear threat" from North Korea. Last summer, during his first one-on-one meeting with Putin, in Hamburg, Trump said that he questioned him about the interference accusations and that the Russian leader denied it.

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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.

However, his comments Sunday came just one day after NBC reported that they were told by more than a dozen us officials that North Korea is pushing forward with its nuclear program at multiple secret sites.

"I am sure that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be discussing this with the North Koreans in the near future about really how to dismantle all of their [weapons of mass destruction] and ballistic missile programs in a year", Bolton said.

Meanwhile, the North Koreans also have operated a secret underground uranium enrichment site known as Kangson, which was first reported in May by The Washington Post. "I don't think there's any doubt about that".

Joel Wit, a former diplomat who helped the USA negotiate with North Korea including a nuclear agreement between the US and the regime in 1994, said the US believed the rogue regime had two sites to "enrich nuclear fuel" including Yongbyon and another, but the name of the center was not revealed.

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

"We know exactly what the risks are - them using negotiations to drag out the length of time they have to continue their nuclear, chemical, biological weapons programs and ballistic missiles", he said.

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