US officials say North Korea is constructing new missiles and still enriching uranium

Mike Ciandella

North Korea is continuing to build new missiles, according to U.S. officials cited by the Washington Post. This intelligence has been backed up by satellite images that appear to show activity at a known uranium-enrichment facility.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged last week that North Korea was continuing “to produce fissile material.”

What did the report say?

The report was based on classified intelligence supplied by U.S. officials under the condition of anonymity. The Post cited “intelligence gathered by U.S. agencies” as evidence that North Korean officials planned to try to fool the U.S. by making a show out of destroying 20 nuclear warheads while they kept dozens.

Satellite images showed continued activity at North Korean nuclear and missile sites. The Post stressed that this does not prove that the country is expanding its nuclear program, but it does show that it has continued to work on its advanced weapons.

Additional satellite photos show work currently underway at the Sanumdong research facility near the capital city of Pyongyang on at least one and perhaps two liquid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs.

North Korea is also reportedly still secretly operating the Kangson uranium-enrichment facility. However, while U.S. intelligence agencies agree that the Kangson site is used to enrich uranium, not all European intelligence officials are so sure.

During his Senate testimony on July 25, Pompeo said that factories in North Korea  “continue to produce fissile material.” “Fissile Material” is uranium or plutonium that can be used to produce the nuclear fission reaction necessary for nuclear weapons.

In May, Trump halted new sanctions targeting North Korea in anticipation of his summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. That summit occurred on June 12.

The North Koreans are publicly dismantling an engine test stand at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station.

What else?

A report from late June conducted by the group 38 North found evidence based on satellite images that North Korea had been making a number of improvements to the infrastructure at multiple nuclear testing sites.

38 North was founded by two North Korea experts from Johns Hopkins University.

But what about the pledge that Kim signed?

At the end of their summit, Trump and Kim both signed a pledge that stated:

President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

After the summit, Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity that denuclearization talks were “really moving rapidly.”

I just think that we are now we are going to start the process of denuclearization of North Korea, and I believe that he’s going back and will start it virtually immediately, and he’s already indicated that and you look at what he’s done.

So we got our hostages back, but they’ve blown up one of their sites, one of their testing sites, their primary testing site, in fact some people say their only testing site, they are getting rid of a missile, which isn’t in the document, that was done afterwards, they’re getting rid of a missile testing site — they’re doing so much now.

Early in the morning on June 13, the day after the summit, Trump tweeted, “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”