United States commander: North Korea hasn't slowed its nuclear program

Minnie Murray
February 13, 2019

North Korea churned out enough plutonium and highly-enriched uranium to fill five to seven new nuclear weapons previous year during the same period negotiations with the United States were taking place, according to a new U.S. study.

The US president and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are expected to discuss an official declaration to end the decades-old war - a prelude to a peace treaty - at their second summit in Hanoi later this month.

FILE PHOTO - People carry flags in front of statues of North Korea founder Kim Il Sung (L) and late leader Kim Jong Il during a military parade marking the 70th anniversary of North Korea's foundation in Pyongyang, North Korea, September 9, 2018.

The probability of the Olympic bid, however, relies on the state of North Korea's nuclear and ballistic program.

Trump told CBS' Face the Nation last Sunday that he had no plans to withdraw troops from South Korea.

During his State of the Union address on February 5, President Donald Trump announced his second summit with Kim will be held in Vietnam on February 27-28.

"The two leaders, from South Korea, President Moon [Jae-in], and from North Korea, Chairman Kim [Jong-un], have asked us to continue to support their talks of rapprochement through actions in sport", said Thomas Bach, the International Olympic Committee president. Richard Blumenthal of CT said the first meeting led to "a stark and stunning lack of any action [or] progress".

US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun held three days of talks in Pyongyang last week to prepare for the second summit, which he said would include discussion of such corresponding steps.

Yonhap news agency reported that South Korea will provide about 1.04 trillion won ($924 million) in 2019.

"With only two weeks until the summit, it will be hard to resolve all the tricky issues, but there's a chance if we can agree on a timeline (for denuclearization)", a South Korean delegation member quoted Biegun as saying.

In an interview with Nikkei Asian Review past year, Dr Mahathir was reported to have said that Malaysia would reopen its embassy in Pyongyong and might re-establish its relationship with North Korea.

A Stanford University study released on Tuesday said North Korea had continued to produce bomb fuel while in talks with the United States and may have produced enough in the past year to add as many as seven nuclear weapons to its arsenal.

USA intelligence is not certain how many nuclear warheads North Korea has, with estimates between 20 and 60.

Trump has touted an optimistic view of North Korea - once proclaiming it was no longer a threat - since his first meeting with Kim.

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