President Trump left his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un claiming victory in his quest to denuclearize the country. In reality, the document Kim signed contained language that had already been agreed to in previous treaties, under which the North Korea’s nuclear program continued unabated.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, reports indicate that Trump got played.
What’s really going on with North Korea’s nuclear program?
We can’t blame you for wondering what’s actually going on with North Korea’s nuclear program. Last weekend, NBC News reported that satellite images of North Korea show that not only hasn’t the nuclear program been stopped, it’s actually accelerating.
Images of North Korea’s only official nuclear enrichment site at Yongbyon show that it’s being upgraded. Intelligence reports indicate that North Korea is stepping up enrichment at two or more secret sites. The country is still producing mobile launch vehicles for its ballistic missiles, and it has also stepped up production of solid fuel engines for the easily launched weapons.
But Kim didn’t technically poke Trump’s eye. “None of that activity is in violation of any agreements made at the Singapore summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un,” Vipin Narang, an MIT political science professor and specialist on nuclear proliferation, told BBC News.
That’s because the four bullet points signed off on by Trump and Kim contained no benchmarks or timelines for North Korea’s nuclear program — and certainly not an ironclad commitment to “total denuclearization,” which Trump had said was his only goal — merely Kim’s intent to progress toward denuclearization, with details to come.
But the revelations are riling critics who already maintained that Trump gave away the store to Kim and got little to nothing in return, legitimizing the brutal dictator by giving him photo ops with the American head of state and agreeing to end joint military exercises with South Korea, which have been going on since the 1950s.