North Korea continues to expand nuclear missile program after Trump’s false promises of safety
A new review of satellite indicates that North Korea is continuing to expand and improve a facility for manufacturing nuclear missiles. This follows a similar study last week which showed that dictator Kim Jong Un was carrying on with construction at a plant to produce plutonium used in weapons production. Both expansions have continued, or even accelerated, since Kim’s meeting with Donald Trump. Taken together, the two studies indicate that the substance-free agreement signed by Trump and Kim, which Trump has presented as an end of nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula, is being taken much less seriously in Pyongyang.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, the analysis by the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey shows not just continuing operations, but a “major expansion” at a plant that manufactures both ballistic missiles using solid-fuel boosters along with re-entry vehicles used by long-range missiles. This follows another image review by the Stimson Center’s “38 North” group showing expansion of a nuclear material research facility.
Well before the brief Singapore summit, Trump had been handed an analysis by US intelligence indicating the likely outcome.
“Pyongyang’s commitment to possessing nuclear weapons and fielding capable long-range missiles, all while repeatedly stating that nuclear weapons are the basis for its survival, suggests that the regime does not intend to negotiate them away,” U.S. officials said in a February assessment.
However, Trump not only reassured Americans that the threat of war had ended and they could now “sleep well,” but surrendered joint military preparedness exercises with South Korea—a key North Korean demand. It’s not clear that Trump got anything in return, other than a photo-op and a day of highly favorable headlines.
Compared to the very real work happening on the ground, Trump’s foreign policy appears to be nothing but smoke and mirrors. And there’s not even much smoke—except for that being produced by North Korean efforts to build more nuclear missiles.