United States intelligence agencies believe that North Korea has in recent months increased its production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites, National Broadcasting Corp (NBC) reported, citing unidentified USA officials.
National security advisor John Bolton claimed on Sunday that the Trump administration has a plan to denuclearize North Korea which would only take one year.
US President Donald Trump (R) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un shake hands following a signing ceremony during their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018.
John Bolton said top US diplomat Mike Pompeo will be discussing that plan with North Korea in the near future.
"If they have the strategic decision already made to do that and they are cooperative, we can move very quickly", Bolton said. "We can get, physically, we would be able to dismantle the overwhelming bulk of their programs within a year".
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been pushing for more follow-up talks to flesh out details of the denuclearization, but no date has been set for when they would take place. The Financial Times reported that Pompeo was due to visit North Korea this week but the State Department has not confirmed any travel plans.
The Washington Post reported on Saturday that USA intelligence officials have concluded that North Korea does not intend to fully give up its nuclear arsenal and is considering ways to hide the number of weapons it has.
According to the daily, evidence collected by U.S. intelligence points to preparations to deceive the USA about the number of nuclear warheads in North Korea's arsenal as well as the existence of undisclosed facilities used to make fissile material for nuclear bombs.
The Post's report corroborates a Friday exposé by NBC News that quoted US intelligence officials warning of North Korea's attempts to hide information from the USA about its nuclear program. The president tweeted last month that there "was no longer a nuclear threat" posed by North Korea.
"I finished the North Korea-U.S. summit meeting successfully, so we'd like your country to make efforts to get the sanctions lifted as soon as possible", he was quoted as saying.
"North Korea remains free to manufacture more nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and other weapons of mass destruction - even though it has unilaterally frozen testing of its nuclear weapons and certain ballistic missiles", he said. "And it is to North Korea's advantage to dismantle very quickly". Trump feuded with G7 leaders during a summit in Canada last month over trade, abruptly dropping support for a routine joint statement. "I think it would be inappropriate and, frankly, counterproductive to achieving the end state that we're hoping to achieve".
Senator Murphy could not be reached for further comment by Newsweek on Saturday about North Korea's continued nuclear weapons program and what type of response he would like to see from the president.