Saturday, 23 February, 2019

North Korea may have made more nuclear bombs, but threat reduced

WB cooperates with S. Korea, to support in N. Korea North Korea has produced enough bomb fuel for up to 7 nuclear weapons
Melinda Barton | 13 February, 2019, 19:07

Mr. Kim agreed to pursue a complete end to his nuclear weapons programs at last summer's Singapore summit with Mr. Trump, and the North has since refrained from the missile and weapons test that brought the two countries to the brink of conflict early in Mr. Trump's presidency.

There are an estimated 28,000 U.S. troops and American civilian military personnel assigned to U.S. Forces Korea (USFK).

The landmark summit in Singapore produced a vague commitment from Kim to work toward the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, where United States troops have been stationed since the 1950-53 Korean War. He said before the talks they would include discussion of corresponding steps North Korea has demanded.

FILE - A TV shows a photo of U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Jan. 1, 2019.

While saying there had been a lowering of tensions along the heavily armed border between North and South Korea, Pyongyang's military capabilities, both nuclear and conventional, "remain unchecked", he said.

Siegfried Hecker, a former director of the U.S. Los Alamos weapons laboratory in New Mexico who is now at Stanford and was one of the report's authors, told Reuters analysis of satellite imagery showed North Korea's production of bomb fuel continued in 2018.

Hecker said it was understandable that North Korea should have continued its weapons work, given that it had reached no specific agreement in the latest talks with the United States to stop that work.

"But in order for it to happen, everything has to go together - resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue, the U.S". But plans for the second meeting are proceeding apace.

A Russian Foreign Ministry source told Sputnik Monday that Moscow is interested in the success of the US-North Korea summit in Hanoi. That summit is scheduled for February 27 and 28 in Hanoi, Vietnam. As Vietnam prepares for the summit, its reform model is being widely touted as the economic path for impoverished and isolated North Korea to follow.

"In recent years, [North Korea] experienced hardship, being isolated on the global stage".

Consistent with the annual World Threat Assessment issued by the USA intelligence community last month, Adm. Davidson contradicted Trump's assertion that North Korea is "no longer a nuclear threat", noting, "We think it is unlikely that North Korea will give up all of its nuclear weapons or production capabilities, but seeks to negotiate partial denuclearization in exchange for USA and global concessions".

Some U.S. lawmakers and others have expressed concern about U.S. military readiness, should the exercises be postponed much longer.

Mr Rogers said the two Koreas would have "a great future" when South Korea's capital, management and capabilities meet the natural resources and cheap, educated labour in the North.