In the wake of his historic summit with Kim Jong Un, President Trump declared North Korea was “no longer a nuclear threat” — but more than a dozen U.S. officials poked holes in that claim Friday, revealing the isolated Communist regime has actually been escalating its nuclear proliferation efforts in recent months.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity with NBC News, said a previously unreported intelligence assessment compiled by the CIA and other U.S. agencies concludes North Korea has ramped up production of fuel for nuclear weapons at several secret testing sites.
North Korea is trying to placate the President and get as many concessions as possible from his administration while at the same holding on to the nuclear stockpiles it considers essential to its longevity as a nation, according to the officials.
A White House spokeswoman did not return a request for comment.
Shortly after his June 12 Singapore summit with Kim, Trump ordered the U.S. military to cease joint military exercises with South Korea that had been carried out for decades. Trump even called the exercises “war games” to Kim’s appreciation.
The Kim regime has put an end to its aggressive missile and nuclear tests since it began engaging in diplomatic talks with the White House, and Trump has touted that as proof his administration’s approach is effective.
But one of the U.S. officials countered that, while the tests have stopped, “there’s no evidence that they are decreasing stockpiles, or that they have stopped their production.”
“There is absolutely unequivocal evidence that they are trying to deceive the U.S.,” the official said.
The latest intelligence assessment reportedly asserts U.S. agencies have detected at least two secret nuclear sites in North Korea, in addition to Yongbyon, its main uranium enrichment plant.
The revelations come days after independent nuclear weapons watchdog 38north released satellite imagery showing North Korea was still making major improvements to the Yongbyon facility.
Trump has claimed Kim — a brutal, human rights-abusing dictator — “loves his people” and praised him as “very talented” after their high-profile meeting.
Upon his return from Singapore, the President touted North Korea’s “great potential.”