The President walked away from talks with Kim in Singapore with fresh hopes for peace and invited the North Korean leader to the United States in the ‘near future’.
That near future could be in just two months, according to Axios, who state that the potential visit would tie in with a UN General Assembly meeting of world leaders.
The talks may focus on a key ballistic missile manufacturing site that North Korea is believed to be expanding less than a month after Kim and Trump’s first summit.
Satellite images, taken by Planet Labs Inc, appear to show construction nearing completion at the Chemical Material Institute in the North Korean city of Hamhung.
David Schmerler, a research associate at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies (MIIS) said that the site is known for making carbon composite parts for solid-fuelled missiles.
He told CNN: ‘The Chemical Materials Institute seems like they have one function, and that’s pumping out parts for their missile program.’
Most of the site was reportedly built before Kim’s summit with Trump in Singapore – but the continuation of its construction flies in the face of what the United States is saying about North Korea’s weapons programme.
President Trump’s national security adviser said the US has a plan that would lead to the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes within a year.
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John Bolton suggested he expects the North Koreans to co-operate because they want to see sanctions lifted quickly and aid from South Korea and Japan start to flow.
Mr Bolton said: ‘Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be discussing this with the North Koreans in the near future about really how to dismantle all of their WMD and ballistic missile programmes in a year.’
He added: ‘If they have the strategic decision already made to do that, and they’re co-operative, we can move very quickly.’
His remarks appear to be the first time the Trump administration had publicly suggested a timeline for North Korea to fulfil the commitment Kim made at the summit.
Despite Trump’s post-summit declaration that the North no longer poses a nuclear threat, Washington and Pyongyang have yet to negotiate the terms under which it would relinquish the weapons that it developed to deter the US.
Unnamed US intelligence officials apparently told the Washington Post that evidence collected since the June 12 summit in Singapore points to preparations to deceive the US about the number of nuclear warheads in North Korea’s arsenal as well as the existence of undisclosed facilities used to make fissile material for nuclear bombs.
It said the findings support a new, previously undisclosed Defence Intelligence Agency estimate that North Korea is unlikely to denuclearise.