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North Korea has increased nuclear production in secret locations, US officials say



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WASHINGTON – US intelligence believes that North Korea has increased its production of nuclear fuel in several secret places in recent months – and that could be Kim The US officials have told NBC News that they are trying to hide these facilities, as it has more concessions in nuclear negotiations with the Trump administration aspire.

The hitherto unreported intelligence assessment seems to counteract President Donald Trump's feelings after his historic June 1

2 summit with Kim: "There was no more nuclear threat from North Korea."

CIA analysts and other intelligence agencies do not see it that way, as more than a dozen American officials claim to be familiar with their assessments and have spoken about the condition of anonymity. They see a regime that positions itself to pull any concession from the Trump administration – while holding nuclear weapons that it considers vital.

The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

In recent months, when the two sides were diplomatic, North Korea strengthened its position producing enriched uranium for nuclear weapons, five US officials say , citing the latest intelligence findings. North Korea and the US agreed at the summit "to work towards a denuclearization", but there is no specific agreement. On Trump's orders, the US military stopped training exercises on the Korean Peninsula, an important concession to Kim.

While the North Koreans have stopped rocket and nuclear testing, "there is no evidence that they reduce stocks or that they have stopped producing," a US official said of the latest findings. "There is absolutely clear evidence that they are trying to fool the US."

Four other officials familiar with intelligence ratings also said North Korea wanted to deceive the US

U.S. Intelligence agencies have tightened their collection against North Korea in recent years, and it seems they are paying off with better insight into a country that has long been the world's heaviest espionage destination, officials say. NBC News agreed to withhold some details of the latest intelligence estimate, which according to official sources could endanger sources.

"There are many things that we know that North Korea has been trying to hide from us for a long time". It has been known for a long time that North Korea had at least one undeclared fuel enrichment facility, with the exception of Yongbyon, its main nuclear facility.

  Image: Operations in the Uranium Enrichment Facility
Annotated A satellite image shows what the Northern Operations website says at the Yongbyon uranium enrichment facility in North Korea. Airbus Defense and Space and 38 North

"When North Korea set up the Yongbyon enrichment plant in 2009, North Koreans arrived At a pace that suggested that this was not their first rodeo, ie not the first time they had assembled large cascades of centrifuges, "said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Non-Proliferation Program for the James Martin Center for Non-Proliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies in Monterey

Joel Wit, who had negotiated a 1994 nuclear agreement with North Korea, said the US had always believed North Korea had two facilities to enrich nuclear material: Yongbyon and a the second side, which the US noted whose name is unknown.

"People were open to the possibility that there could be more," he said.

The latest US intelligence estimate concludes that there are more than one secret site, officials say NBC News. The question is, will Kim be willing to admit it?

"That's why people want North Korea to explain all of its facilities in advance," said Wit, a former Clinton administration official and senior fellow at the Stimson Center, who has a website dedicated to North Korea, 38north.com.


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