x

Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 July 2018

Trump says North Korea talks 'going well' and lashes critics

Reports have emerged that Kim Jong Un has failed to honour his denuclearisation pledge

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump shake hands at the conclusion of their meetings at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island in Singapore. A leaked US intelligence report and an analysis of satellite data suggest the North may be continuing its nuclear and missile activities despite a pledge to denuclearize. Susan Walsh / AP
North Korea leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump shake hands at the conclusion of their meetings at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island in Singapore. A leaked US intelligence report and an analysis of satellite data suggest the North may be continuing its nuclear and missile activities despite a pledge to denuclearize. Susan Walsh / AP

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that talks with North Korea were making progress despite reports that Kim Jong Un's regime had stepped up its nuclear programme after the two leaders held a historic summit.

"Many good conversations with North Korea-it is going well!" he tweeted. "In the meantime, no Rocket Launches or Nuclear Testing in 8 months.

"All of Asia is thrilled. Only the Opposition Party, which includes the Fake News, is complaining. If not for me, we would now be at War with North Korea!"

Mr Trump's comments came as his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was to head back to North Korea on Thursday to flesh out the bare bones nuclear agreement signed by the two leaders during their summit meeting in Singapore last month.

The US president has boasted that the statement resolved the old foes' nuclear stand-off, but Mr Pompeo has been tasked with nailing down details.

There have been reports that Mr Kim's regime has failed to honour its denuclearisation pledge after the June 12 meeting.

The Washington Post on Sunday quoted unnamed US officials who were briefed on intelligence findings that point to preparations for deceiving the United States, while NBC news has said Pyongyang is increasing its nuclear fuel production.

Citing satellite imagery, a monitoring group last month said operations and infrastructure works were continuing at the North's main Yongbyon nuclear site, while the Trump administration itself has cited "an unusual and extraordinary threat" from Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal to extend decade-long sanctions.

_________

Read more:

Pompeo will visit North Korea on July 5 for crucial meeting

Bolton: US has plan to dismantle NK nuclear program in year

_________

A report in Axios on Monday suggested if talks go well, Mr Trump could invite Mr Kim to New York in September to continue the dialogue as the UN General Assembly gets under way.

Separately, the US State Department confirmed that Mr Pompeo had spoken by telephone to his Russian counterpart Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Mr Pompeo is due in North Korea for talks on a nuclear deal later this week, and his spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the issue came up in his conversation with Mr Lavrov, along with the war in Syria and preparations for President Trump's summit with Russia's President Vladimir Putin.