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North Korea still has nuclear bomb-making materials, top US military commander says

Commander of the United States Forces Korea (USFK) Army Gen. Vincent K. Brooks renders honors during an honor guard ceremony at the Ministry of National Defense in Seoul, Republic of Korea, Feb. 3, 2017. (Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith/Department of Defense)
July 24, 2018

A top U.S. commander of forces in South Korea said on Saturday that North Korea still maintains the materials required for nuclear weapons development, despite agreeing to denuclearize.

Army Gen. Vincent Brooks said nuclear “production capability is still intact” in North Korea, CNBC reported.

“We haven’t seen a complete shutdown of production yet. We have not seen a removal of fuel rods,” he added.

Just last month, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un joined President Donald Trump for a summit in Singapore to discuss denuclearization. Both leaders called the meeting a success, and agreed to North Korea’s denuclearization efforts.

“There has to be demonstrable action in that direction, or we cannot be satisfied and we probably can’t be friends and we probably won’t be at peace,” Gen. Brooks said.

“Thus far, those steps have not been taken,” he added.

President Trump is reportedly frustrated with the little progress made since the summit. While he has confided his frustrations to his aides, he maintains to the public that the discussions are productive.

North Korean diplomats have canceled or failed to show up for some meetings, demanded more money, and offered poor communications with U.S. diplomats. These acts have been perceived as forms of resistance, leading many to disbelieve North Korea’s pledge to denuclearize.

House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul expressed skepticism over the relationship with North Korea since the summit.

“What I’ve seen since Singapore is actually not maximum pressure, but rather a loosening of sanctions in terms of enforcement,” he said.

“I don’t think we ought to be making really any concessions until they really start moving forward in a very strong concrete positive way towards denuclearization,” McCaul added.

However, Brooks noted that diplomats are working to build trust between the two nations in order to resolve tensions and move forward in the agreement.

“Building that trust while that pressure continues and while the efforts for diplomacy continue is the order of the day. In many ways, the lack of trust is the enemy we now have to defeat,” Brooks said.

“That’s really where we are right now,” he added.

“There are still steps that must be taken on the road to denuclearization — which Chairman Kim has said he will do,” Brooks said.

“He has given his word on that and we will take him at his word. He has demonstrated that he really is a man of his word, in a number of ways; but, thus, far those steps have not been taken,” Brooks added.