State Department Predicts North Korean Denuclearization Despite Contradicting Reports

The State Department expects North Korea to continue towards full denuclearization, despite recent reports of Pyongyang developing new missile. According to State Department spokeswomen Heather Nauert, the Trump administration is counting on Kim Jong-un’s commitment to denuclearize, CNBC writes.

“What we are going on is the commitment that Chairman Kim (Jong Un) made to our president, and that is the commitment to denuclearize. That is something that we certainly anticipate that he will hold up his end of the bargain,” Nauert told reporters on Tuesday.

A Washington Post report on Tuesday, citing U.S. intelligence officials, claimed North Korea has yet to stop producing new ballistic missiles. The report showed satellite imagery suggesting Pyongyang was continuing to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The report comes less than two months after Trump tweeted that North Korea no long posed a nuclear threat.

“There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!” Trump tweeted a day after his summit with Kim Jong-un in Singapore.

However, State Secretary Mike Pompeo acknowledged in Senate testimony last week that Pyongyang is still making fissile material that is used in making nuclear weapons. A top U.S. military commander on the Korean Peninsula last month also said that the material needed for North Korea to make nuclear bombs is still intact.

Meanwhile, military delegations from North and South Korea held talks on Tuesday in the truce village of Panmunjom, within the demilitarized zone (DMZ) border region, the same site where Kim met South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April, per Voice of America.

The two sides discussed how they might implement the security related aspects of the inter-Korean summit agreement to ease border tensions and “cease all hostile acts against each another.” Pyongyang and Seoul also exchanged views on possibly reducing the number of military forces and arms in the DMZ and to conduct a joint excavation in the border area for the remains of soldiers that were killed in the Korean War.

According to VOA, increased inter-Korean cooperation to ease cross border tensions and improve relations is also tied to the denuclearization talks.

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