NBC news quoted US officials in a report which stated that in recent months, production of nuclear fuel for its nuclear weapons has been enhanced by North Korea in more than one site, according to US intelligence agencies.
The agencies also believe that the rogue nation might now try to hide those fuels and try and gain some concessions in nuclear talks with the United States.
The report described the events were in direct contrast to sentiments expressed by President Donald Trump in a tweet following the June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un which read: “there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea.”
Even while North Korea is engaging in diplomacy with the United States, it had increased production of enriched uranium for nuclear weapons, said the news report quoting five unidentified US officials.
In addition to the already known nuclear fuel production units at Yongbyon, there are more secret nuclear site being operated by North Korea, said the network report citing US officials who in turn quoted reports from the intelligence agencies.
“There is absolutely unequivocal evidence that they are trying to deceive the US,” NBC quoted one official as saying.
There were no comments made to the NBC report by the CIA.
The latest news report about North Korean nuclear sites has further raised doubts about the seriousness of the country to start negotiations related to its stopping up its nuclear program which now presents a threat to the US. This despite Trump being very enthusiastic about the outcome of the summit meeting.
One of the US officials however was quoted in the new report saying that the suspension of nuclear and missile tests by North Korea prior to the summit was unexpected and described the talking of the two sides as a positive step.
However, he added: “Work is ongoing to deceive us on the number of facilities, the number of weapons, the number of missiles … We are watching closely.”
there were two “bombshells” in the NBC report, said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at California’s Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
The understanding that apart from the one at Yongbyon, there was at least one undisclosed facility for enriching nuclear fuel in North Korea, was always present for long, he said.
“This assessment says there is more than one secret site. That means there are at least three, if not more sites,” he said.
According to Lewis, suggestions that North Korea did not want to disclose one or more of the enrichment sites is evident from the US intelligence reporting.
“Together, these two things would imply that North Korea intended to disclose some sites as part of the denuclearization process, while retaining others,” he said.
(Adapted from TheTelegraph.co.uk)