US: No Signs North Korea Is Dismantling Nuclear Weapons


U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said there are no reports that North Korea has taken steps toward dismantling its nuclear weapons or discontinuing its arms development program despite the agreement signed with the United States at Singapore last June 12. After the summit, U.S. President Donald Trump addressed the press and said North Korea would dismantle a missile engine testing site upon its leader Kim
Jong-un’s return.

In exchange, Trump assured Kim that he would suspend the annual military exercises with South Korea. Recently, the Pentagon confirmed that the military drills planned for August had been scrapped. When asked by reporters if he had knowledge if North Korea had begun the process of denuclearization, Mattis responded, “No, I’m not aware of that. The detailed negotiations have not begun. I wouldn’t expect that at this point.”

The agreement signed by Trump and Kim did not include details on the proposed denuclearization. There were no guidelines on how to proceed or when to begin. Trump himself had acknowledged, “There was no time.” Trump assured media that Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and National Security Adviser, John Bolton, would conduct follow- up meeting with Kim’s representatives from North Korea: “We’re getting together next week to go into the details. Next week, with John Bolton and our entire team, to go over the details and to get this stuff done.” Pompeo confirmed he would take point during the follow- up meetings:

“I will be the person who takes the role of driving this process forward. I don’t know exactly what the timing will be for our next conversation with North Korea. I would anticipate it will be fairly quickly after we return to our home countries. I don’t know exactly what form that will take but I’m very confident that by sometime in the next week or so we will begin the engagement.” Heather Nauert, State Department Spokesman, disclosed that while the U.S. had been in contact with North Korea, there has been no confirmation on Pompeo’s
proposed visit to the country. According to Victor Cha, former director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council, U.S. officials failed to convince North Korea to include verbiage in the agreement that committed the regime to a “complete, verifiable, an irreversible” nuclear disarmament program: “They did not get those, but Trump went along with the meeting anyway, which means he cared more about the meeting than about the substance. Even though there is no timeline, there is de facto one now. Pompeo has to get something before August to justify suspending the military exercises.”

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