U.S. envoy meets North Korean officials at DMZ

U.S. envoy meets North Korean officials at DMZ

U.S. envoy meets North Korean officials at DMZ

USA national security adviser John Bolton said Sunday he believes that most of North Korea's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs can be dismantled within a year.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will return to North Korea on July 5 to meet with Kim and his team, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at Monday's press briefing.

Pompeo previously visited North Korea in April as the head of the Central Intelligence Agency, and then a second time in May in his new role as Secretary of State.

The US intelligence officials have concluded that North Korea does not intend to fully surrender its nuclear stockpiles, The Washington Post reported, citing intelligence officials.

The trip to Pyongyang will be the first by a senior US official since Trump's historic meeting with Kim Jong Un in Singapore last month.

The department said in a statement Monday: "Our goal remains the final, fully verified denuclearization of the DPRK, as agreed to by Chairman Kim in Singapore".

However, there have been leaks of a U.S. intelligence assessment suggesting that North Korea is continuing - and in some cases accelerating - work on its nuclear and missile programs.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un asked China to help ease global sanctions against North Korea during his most recent visit to Beijing in mid-June, according to Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun. He also said Trump and Kim should decide whether to move the nuclear weapons out of North Korea to dismantle them or do it inside the country.

The meeting comes amid growing scrutiny of Pyongyang's commitment to denuclearization and as joint efforts to repatriate the remains of US troops from North Korea are taking longer than many anticipated.

Speaking on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday, National Security Adviser John Bolton said Mr Pompeo would visit North Korea to discuss "how to dismantle all of their WMD and ballistic missile programs in a year".

Bolton's comments have snarled North Korean diplomacy before. "If they have the strategic decision already made to do that, and they're cooperative, we can move very quickly", he added.

Doubts over North Korea's intentions have deepened amid reports that it is continuing to produce fissile material for weapons.

"It is perfectly rational for North Korea to shift the emphasis to developing solid fuel missiles now that it already has a suite of liquid fuel missiles to deter an attack", he said.

A strategy by David Albright at the Institute for Science and International Security suggests the U.S. needs to get Kim to disclose a complete list of all his nuclear program sites and materials, including uranium and plutonium.

Siegfried Hecker, a nuclear scientist and Stanford University professor, has predicted it would take around 10 years to dismantle and clean up a substantial part of North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear site. "I think they want to do it", he said in a prerecorded interview on Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures" programme.

Even if North Korea is willing to cooperate, dismantling its secretive weapons of mass destruction programs, believed to encompass dozens of sites, will be tough.

"We're looking at the tail end of this major push on the nuclear missile program and economic development", he said, adding it may also be an effort to increase leverage ahead of more detailed negotiations.

"This is not like North Korea cheating or deceiving the USA because they've made no commitments".

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