In September, President Donald Trump issued a steady stream of praise for North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, in interviews and on Twitter.
But news agencies are revealing that intelligence officials know that Kim’s regime is making nuclear weapons and has escalated efforts to conceal its dangerous activity.
Back in April, North and South Korea set bold goals: a final peace and no nuclear arms, plus an effort to pursue talks with the United States to declare an official end to the Korean War, which ravaged the peninsula from 1950 to 1953.
The Korean War conflict ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty, leaving the U.S.-led forces, including South Korea, technically still at war with the North.
In June, Trump and Kim met in Singapore.
On Sept. 18, Kim said his “historic” summit with Trump stabilized regional security and that he expected further progress on an inter-Korean summit aimed at reviving stalled nuclear diplomacy.
The North Korean leader thanked South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in for bringing about the Singapore meeting in June as the two peninsula leaders began their third round of talks in Pyongyang in September.
The Kim-Moon summit will serve as a litmus test for another meeting Kim has recently proposed to Trump, with the South Korean president seeking to engineer a proposal that combines a framework for the North’s denuclearization and a joint declaration ending the Korean War, which ceased military action near the midpoint of the 20th century.
During the three-day visit, Moon expressed gratitude for Kim’s “bold decision” to open a new era.
Trump has asked Moon to be “chief negotiator” between himself and Kim, according to Moon’s aides.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced he was departing on his fourth trip to North Korea on Aug. 23. On Friday, just hours before Pompeo was supposed to leave, Trump tweeted that the trip was off.
The cancellation came after a top North Korean official sent a secret letter to Pompeo, which convinced he and Trump that the secretary’s visit was unlikely to succeed.
The United States is pressing other countries to strictly observe U.N. sanctions aimed at choking off funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
North Korea says it has destroyed its main nuclear and missile engine test site and has halted atomic and ballistic missile tests, but U.S. officials and analysts believe it is continuing to work on its weapons plans covertly.