United States intelligence agencies believe North Korea is assembling new intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the American mainland, according to explosive reporting by the Washington Post on Monday.
Spy agencies see signs North Korea is still building missiles https://t.co/vWfLiKdtEa— The Washington Post (@The Washington Post)1533040258.0
Sources familiar with the intelligence say the North Koreas are working on "at least one and possibly two liquid-fueled ICBMs at a large research facility in Sanumdong," and that the missiles are a sign that Pyongyang's pledge to "denuclearize" may have been nothing more than a ruse.
"The Sanumdong factory has produced two of North Korea’s ICBMs, including the powerful Hwasong-15, the first with a proven range that could allow it to strike the U.S. East Coast," the Post's report says.
The latest intelligence indicates Trump was likely used as a propaganda tool for the North Koreans, despite his tweets and affirmations of a positive relationship with Kim.
Senior North Korean officials have discussed their intention to deceive Washington about the number of nuclear warheads and missiles they have, as well as the types and numbers of facilities, and to rebuff international inspectors, according to intelligence gathered by U.S. agencies.
“We see them going to work, just as before,” said one U.S. official.
U.S. President Donald Trump held a summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Singapore last month, where the two spoke in private and signed a non-binding letter of intent to pursue a future Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons. Since then, however, there has been little indication that Kim has ordered a scale down of his country's pursuit of nuclear weapons.
The president was quick to praise Kim and himself in the hours after the summit. Following his return home from the meeting, Trump tweeted: "There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea."
Just landed - a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a N… https://t.co/L9KSyYsnZi— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1528883817.0
Earlier this month, the president tweeted he had had "many good conversations with North Korea" and that the "fake news" was "complaining" about what was an obvious lack of effort on the part of Kim's regime to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. Trump also said that "we would now be at war with North Korea" if it weren't for him.
Many good conversations with North Korea-it is going well! In the meantime, no Rocket Launches or Nuclear Testing i… https://t.co/FliQhVIZNO— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1530616578.0
Dan Rather said "Kim Jong-Un was as convincing as Putin in his denials" about interfering in American elections, which Trump still has trouble accepting as truth.
I am shocked- shocked- to find that missile development is going on in Noth Korea! I guess Kim Jong-Un was as convi… https://t.co/RKqq2rWHkR— Dan Rather (@Dan Rather)1532998268.0
He wasn't alone.
North Korea is making more missiles. More proof Trump’s weak. No one takes his empty threats seriously. His North K… https://t.co/4Jv1kHmokU— Scott Dworkin (@Scott Dworkin)1532996729.0
If Trump got played by a third-rate dictator with such ease, maybe it would be a good idea to legislate a recordin… https://t.co/OELrypdkKZ— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈)1532993750.0
The North Korea matter should remind you once again that Donald Trump is completely naive when it comes to the blan… https://t.co/n8Mf3q3XRm— Rick Wilson (@Rick Wilson)1532994700.0
Dealmaker-in-Chief boasted too soon that North Korea is not messing with their old missiles anymore. Rather they ar… https://t.co/ldprMjCTZE— John Dean (@John Dean)1533000568.0
"Kim Jong Un played Trump."
"Who could have seen this coming? Almost everyone except President Trump."
Q: Who could possibly have seen this coming? A: Almost everyone except Pres. Trump. U.S. spy agencies: North Korea… https://t.co/FeoaG5z1pW— Larry Sabato (@Larry Sabato)1533011765.0
And it wasn't just members of the media that were harshly critical of the president.
Twitter users were nearly unanimous in their lack of surprise.
@washingtonpost Fake News. Donny promised North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat. Donny and Kim Jung Un bonded… https://t.co/6SoUPsvrIx— Paul Revere (@Paul Revere)1533040995.0
@washingtonpost No one ever doubted they'd stopped. No reasonable person that is.— Fyrecurl (@Fyrecurl)1533040819.0
@washingtonpost That's not a surprise.— Sarah Whicker (@Sarah Whicker)1533041784.0
On Monday, before the Post story broke, Vice President Mike Pence said Trump had "secured a commitment" from North Korea.
Pence was referring to fallen American servicemembers whose remains are still in North Korea more than six decades after the Korean War. "We’ll see North Korea begin to follow through on the promise they made to President Trump," Pence tweeted.
While @POTUS Trump was negotiating an issue as significant as denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, he had our… https://t.co/WRH7Uc7Q5h— Vice President Mike Pence (@Vice President Mike Pence)1532959655.0
@washingtonpost My guess is, North Korea is building new intercontinental missiles in order to return our soldiers'… https://t.co/UBqdsznJgR— Chris Henson (@Chris Henson)1533042250.0
But North Korea's promises appear to be vacuous and deceitful, as they have been for three generations, and the president is letting himself fall for it. The question is - now what?