When President Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12, 2018, the world was understandably optimistic that both sides had taken a step back from the brink of war and that a new foundation for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and a formal end to the 1950–53 Korean War might be at hand.
The summit itself went smoothly, and there were reassuring statements and press releases saying that indeed a breakthrough had been achieved, although further talks would be needed to hammer out details and produce definitive signed agreements. At the same time, many analysts, myself included, were skeptical that North Korea was dealing in good faith. It was entirely possible that they were merely posturing and playing for time while they built new nuclear testing facilities (their former facility had collapsed due to overuse in test explosions) and pursued hidden research and enrichment that did not require conspicuous missile launches.
In the month since the summit, the evidence is that North Korea is not dealing in good faith. This article reveals new intelligence that says North Korea is continuing to produce nuclear fuel and has no intention of fully giving up its nuclear weapons capability. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has returned to North Korea to pursue the ongoing negotiations. No doubt he will confront North Korea with this new intelligence.
Hopefully these news reports just reflect bargaining chips in a tough negotiation. If not, the U.S. and North Korea will resume the countdown to war that was halted last December.
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