As he flew home from his whirlwind negotiations with “a smart guy” – the dictator of North Korea – only two weeks ago, the American president declared that thanks to him the nuclear threat posed by Asia’s outlaw country for generations had suddenly been snuffed out.
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Just landed – a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2018
Trump’s boast was apparently premature.
Not only has North Korea made no moves to get rid of its estimated 60 ready-to-launch nuclear-tipped missiles but now there is proof it is actually actively secretly upgrading its nuclear capability.
The website 38 North, which is part of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, has satellite imagery that tells a very different story than Trump’s fairy tale about his negotiations in Singapore:
“Commercial satellite imagery from June 21 indicates that improvements to the infrastructure at North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center are continuing at a rapid pace.”
Images from the satellite can be seen on the 38 North site here.
— Jonathan Cheng (@JChengWSJ) June 27, 2018
38 North’s Managing Editor Jen Town notes that the on-going work may just be a sign that there is no final deal in place but points out that it shows how illusionary Trump’s post-summit boast was.
Infrastructure improvements continue at Yongbyon; underscores reason why an actual deal is necessary, not just a statement of lofty goals. https://t.co/7e3HSYw16M
— Jenny Town (@j3nnyt0wn) June 27, 2018
Newsweek cites experts who believe the agreement Trump signed with Kim Jong-un does not provide the kind of guarantees that would be meaningful.
“Some analysts doubt the Kim will give up his nuclear arsenal,” reports Newsweek, “citing vague working of the Singapore declaration, which omits the words ‘verifiable’ and ‘irreversible.'”
Trump proudly announced when he went to Singapore that he wasn’t doing much to prepare because he is such a great instinctual negotiator, and he failed to bring along the kind of nuclear disarmament experts who know what to ask and what to demand to have a successful negotiation.
When it was over, due to lack of preparation, the document produced did little to accomplish the major goals but did a lot to make Trump feel good and Kim look like he isn’t just the petty, murderous dictator of a hermit kingdom.
Satellite photos suggest North Korea is still making "rapid" improvements to its nuclear reactor, despite the Trump-Kim Jong Un agreement: https://t.co/S5qI6fApMt
— TheBeat w/Ari Melber (@TheBeatWithAri) June 27, 2018
Now we see that there is no sign North Korea is working toward disarmament or is in any rush to keep the vague promises made to Trump.
While the U.S. has kept the sanctions in place against North Korea, it has also left Kim Jong-un elevated among world leaders and feeling more empowered than ever over the police state that is his country.