Reports of hidden N.Korea nuclear efforts raise questions in US

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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.

Kim's past declarations have been suspect, so that's when "we'll know if this is a different North Korea than we've seen in the past", he is quoted by Axios.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said he plans to meet with Kim to "flesh out" details of the disarmament promise, but has insisted North Korea is serious.

Responding to criticism of his handling of North Korea, Trump posted on Twitter, using his typical defense by mentioning "fake news".

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Thanks to private satellite imagery, independent weapons analysts have also been able to confirm that North Korea is expanding test sites-not destroying them.

The satellite images, taken by San Francisco-based Planet Labs Inc. and analyzed by researchers at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies (MIIS) in Monterrey, show Pyongyang finishing construction at the Chemical Material Institute, which researchers say is based in the North Korean city of Hamhung.

Trump and Kim's signed agreement after their summit in Singapore stated that Kim "reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" and that his country would commit "to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula". If the leak was authorized, however, that could mean that the Trump administration is working to highlight and leverage North Korea's bad faith ahead of additional negotiations.

Sanders insisted the goal remains the same as it has always been, denuclearization, . adding the US will continue pushing for that. and working closely with North Korea.

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Several reports released in recent days suggest that Kim continued to ramp up his weapons production - rather than prepare to disarm - in the weeks leading up to his June 12 summit with Trump in Singapore.

North Korea, according to NBC News and The Washington Post - citing discussions with USA intelligence officials - is seeking to deceive Washington about the quantity of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles it possesses and the scope of related facilities.

US officials caution Kim would have to show progress in denuclearizing before a meeting could be arranged. What we are going to give is good things in the future.

His trip follows discussions Sunday at the Korean demilitarized zone between U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim and North Koreans.

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"Now we're saving a lot of money", Trump said of the cancellation of large-scale military drills that involve flights of U.S. bombers from the Pacific U.S. territory of Guam. It remains unclear why intelligence officials leaked it to the media, though one former weapons inspector who spoke with the Post implied that it might be because the intel community doesn't trust the Trump administration to negotiate a realistic deal.

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