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North Korea keeps rejecting repeated US demands to scrap its nukes

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President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
President
Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong
Un


Evan
Vucci/AP



  • North Korea is reportedly refusing to turn over its
    nuclear weapons, despite repeated requests from US officials,
    including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
  • The secretary is struggling to get North Korea to even
    disclose the size of its nuclear arsenal, Vox reveals.
  • Wednesday’s report is the latest in a string of
    articles suggesting that North Korea may actually be moving
    away from denuclearization.
  • Trump administration officials have already started
    publicly expressing frustration with Pyongyang’s failure to act
    in accordance with US demands.

Nuclear negotiations with North Korea have reportedly not been
going particularly well, as Pyongyang has repeatedly rejected US
calls for the North to dump the majority of its nuclear arsenal.

The Trump administration has presented North Korea with a
timeline for denuclearization that demands the country turn over
60-70 percent of its nuclear weapons stockpile to the US or a
third party within the six to eight months, Vox
reported
Wednesday, citing two people familiar with the
negotiations.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has reportedly struggled to get
North Korea to disclose the size of its arsenal, specifically how
many warheads it possesses. US intelligence agencies estimate
that North Korea could have as many as 60 warheads,
according
to The Washington Post, but North Korea’s status as
one of the hardest intel targets in the world makes it difficult
for anyone to be certain what North Korea has up its sleeves.

North Korea is said to have grown tired of Pompeo because he
keeps repeating his demands despite constant rejection, refusing
to take no for an answer, Vox revealed. After Pompeo’s most
recent visit to North Korea in July, the North Korean foreign
ministry criticized the American demands, calling them
“gangster-like” and “regrettable.”

The Vox report is the latest in a string of reports suggesting
that nuclear negotiations with North Korea are not yielding the
results the Trump administration expects.

North Korea has in recent weeks been caught producing possible
liquid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missiles at a facility
in Sanum-dong, 
increasing nuclear
fuel production at secret enrichment sites, 
making key
infrastructure improvements at the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific
Research Center, and 
expanding a
facility in Hamhung dedicated to the development of solid-fueled
ballistic missiles.

A confidential United Nations report leaked last week
revealed
that North Korea “has not stopped its nuclear
and missile programs.”

Not even two months since the Singapore summit where President
Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the first
time, and this situation appears increasingly bleak and a far cry
from “final, fully-verified denuclearization as agreed to by
Chairman Kim,” a phrase often repeated by members of the Trump
administration, Pompeo in particular.

Chairman Kim made a commitment to denuclearize,” the
secretary recently
told
reporters, “The world demanded that they do so in the UN
Security Council resolutions. To the extent they are behaving in
a manner inconsistent with that, they are a) in violation of one
or both the U.N. Security Council resolutions and b) we can see
we still have a ways to go to achieve the ultimate outcome we’re
looking for.”

Others in the administration are expressing their
frustration as well. “The United States has lived up to the
Singapore declaration,” White House National Security Adviser
John Bolton
told
Fox News Monday, “It’s just North Korea that has not
taken the steps we feel are necessary to denuclearize.”

While North Korea remains in possession of its nuclear
weapons, the country has dismantled the Punggye-ri nuclear test
site, put a moratorium on missile testing, released US hostages,
and returned the suspected remains of US war dead. The North does
not, however, appear to have started the denuclearization
process, which many observers argue was not clearly defined in
the landmark Singapore agreement that was noticeably lacking in
substance.

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