White House national security adviser John Bolton said on Sunday he believed the bulk of North Korea's nuclear programme could be dismantled within a year, as U.S. media reported that the hermit nation had recently increased production for nuclear weapons. "I think they're very serious about it". "Physically we would be able to dismantle the overwhelming bulk of their programmes within a year".
Noting the source of the report, experts here are interpreting it as a warning from the US to North Korea that the agreement to denuclearize should be implemented honestly, ahead of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's possible visit to Pyongyang.
Trump was pressed on whether he trusted Kim Jong-un, whom he met last month in Singapore and with whom he said he had "a great chemistry", to make good on promises to destroy Pyongyang's nuclear program.
As U.S. intelligence agencies continue to gather information about North Korea's actions, any breach of the nuclear agreement by Kim could warrant a return to the tense relationship that characterized U.S.
"North Korea remains free to manufacture more nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and other weapons of mass destruction - even though it has unilaterally frozen testing of its nuclear weapons and certain ballistic missiles", he said. "I will just say this: Not answering the specific reports we've seen over the weekend. we are using the full range of our capabilities to understand what North Korea is doing". We've seen how the North Koreans have behaved before.More news: Portugal lost the plot despite Morocco victory, says coach Santos
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At the same time, U.S. envoy Sung Kim held talks with North Korean officials on Sunday in the border village of Panmunjom within the demilitarised zone between the North and South Korea, South Korean media reported on Sunday.
On "Face the Nation" and "Fox News Sunday", Bolton refused to talk about a Washington Post report that U.S. intelligence officials have concluded North Korea does not intend to fully surrender its nuclear stockpile and is preparing to deceive the United States about the number of nuclear warheads in its arsenal and the existence of undisclosed facilities used to make fissile material. I really believe he means it.
Asia expert Patrick Cronin called the NBC and Washington Post reports "extremely worrisome".
"There is absolutely unequivocal evidence that they are trying to deceive the U.S".
"I do trust him", Trump told ABC News of Kim in the hours after the Singapore summit, adding that the North Korean leader will be "de-nuking the whole place".
A United States official told The Associated Press that the Post's report was accurate and that the assessment reflected the consistent view across USA government agencies for the past several weeks. Interviewed on NBC's Meet the Press, Lindsey Graham of SC said North Korea would "regret it" if nuclear talks collapsed.