Pompeo to head to North Korea as doubts mount about its intentions

North Korea unwilling to reveal total nuclear warhead.. arsenal, production facilities, says US intelligence

Pompeo heading to NKorea as doubts mount

Last week, 38 North, a North Korea monitoring project affiliated with Washington's Stimson Center think tank, said satellite imagery showed the North had been upgrading its Yongbyon nuclear complex.

After his trip to Pyongyang until Saturday, Pompeo will visit Tokyo on Saturday and Sunday to meet with Japanese and South Korean officials and "discuss our shared commitment to the final, fully verified denuclearization" of the North, the State Department said.

The wording dropped the usual reference to the "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization".

While Kim has consistently said he's willing to denuclearize, long-time North Korea watchers worry that Pyongyang and Washington have very different definitions of the term denuclearization.

Diplomatic gains have been marred by USA intelligence and satellite images suggesting that the North is moving ahead with its nuclear weapons programs despite Kim's summit promise to work toward the "complete denuclearization" of the divided peninsula. The country appears to be ramping up production of both nuclear fuel and ballistic missile components, according to multiple reports.

"We're very well aware of North Korea's patterns of behavior over decades of negotiating with the United States", Bolton said".

Republican Senator Susan Collins said she was troubled by the news reports. Even that was viewed as bullish by nonproliferation experts considering the scale of North Korea's weapons program and its history of evasion and reluctance to allow verification of disarmament agreements. "And without those inspections, we can have no guarantee that North Korea is not cheating again". If recent reports are correct, North Korea's already begun working on that pipeline.

South Korea media reported on Sunday that Sung Kim, the US ambassador to the Philippines, met with North Korean officials on Sunday at the border village of Panmunjom within the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas to coordinate an agenda for Pompeo's next visit to North Korea.

The president - who tweeted after the summit that "there is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea" - said in an interview broadcast Sunday that he believes Kim is honest, although he acknowledged a deal may not work out.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning also said that Trump's decision to suspend joint military exercises with South Korea "will not impact the capabilities and readiness of our combined forces on the peninsula in order to deal with North Korea".

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Trump could dangle a second meeting in NY as an incentive for North Korea to follow that timeline, officials told Axios. "Now is it possible?"

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will leave for Pyongyang on Thursday for talks on denuclearization with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the White House said Monday.

Sanders said the United States was "continuing to make progress" in talks with North Korea.

While Pyongyang has stopped missile and nuclear weapons tests, "there's no evidence that they are decreasing stockpiles or that they have stopped their production", an official told NBC News in the US.

Xi in turn told Kim he "actively supports North Korea's reform and opening-up and will proactively cooperate with issues associated with the efforts", according to the Yomiuri.

John Delury, a Korea specialist at Seoul's Yonsei University, pointed out that Kim didn't make any specific promises during the summit. "Not once", said Jeffrey Lewis, director for the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

Kim pointed out that the workers are just complaining about lack of money and materials, not focusing on normalizing and modernizing its facilities.

A strategy by David Albright at the Institute for Science and International Security suggests the U.S. needs to get Kim to disclose a complete list of all his nuclear program sites and materials, including uranium and plutonium.

He said the one-year program the U.S.is proposing would cover all the North's chemical and biological weapons, nuclear programs and ballistic missiles.

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