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    United States intelligence concludes North Korea is still working on nuclear development program

    United States intelligence concludes North Korea is still working on nuclear development program

    As July 2018 came to a close, it was clear that North Korea was continuing its nuclear development program.  According to a report in the Washington Post, United States  intelligence agencies had concluded that North Korea was building new missiles. 

    Recent satellite imagery indicated that two liquid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) were under development at a research facility in Sanumdong, just outside Pyongyang.  The facility at Sanumdong was believed to be the same one where ICMS were being housed that North Korea claimed could reach the Uniyed States. 

    These findings from the United States intelligence agencies were being leaked only weeks after President Trump met with North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and publicly claimed that North Korea was "no longer a Nuclear Threat."  As noted by an anonymous United states official in an interview with the Washington Post, “We see them going to work, just as before.'

    The same type of nuclear development activity was being detected by other experts. The Sanumdong facility, according to  Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, was “not dead, by any stretch of the imagination."  Lewis added, “It’s active. We see shipping containers and vehicles coming and going. This is a facility where they build ICBMs and space-launch vehicles.”

    Nevertheless, the fact of the matter was that North Korea very likely believed that it could make an agreement with Trump without actually ceasing its nuclear development program. Going back to the start of 2018, in his New year's address, Kim Jong un vowed to advance North Korea's  "nuclear weapons research sector," saying that it "should mass-produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles."  That type of nuclear development was quite distinct was a nuclear test freeze.  

    With North Korea ceasing its nuclear test activity, the United States could claim that it had accomplished something concrete.  But at the same time, North Korea could continue its nuclear development unfettered.  The problem for President Trump in the United States, however, was that  a nuclear test freeze did not guarantee  the nuclear threat posed by North Korea was gone.  

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