New activity has been detected at a factory that produced North Korea’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of reaching the United States, South Korea’s JoongAng Ilbo and Donga Ilbo newspapers reported, citing lawmakers briefed by the National Intelligence Service.
This week, two U.S. think tanks and Seoul’s spy agency said North Korea was rebuilding a rocket launch site, prompting Trump to say he would be “very, very disappointed in Chairman Kim” if it were true.
The reports of North Korean activity raise more questions about the future of the dialogue Trump has pursued with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after a second summit between the two leaders in Vietnam broke down last week.White House national security adviser John Bolton said on Thursday that Trump was still open to additional talks with North Korea over denuclearization.
“The president’s obviously open to talking again. We’ll see when that might be scheduled or how it might work out,” Bolton said in an interview with Fox News.
He said it was too soon to make a determination on the reports of the North Korean activities.
“We have a lot of ways of getting information,” he said. “We’re going to study the situation carefully. As the president said, it would be very, very disappointing if they were taking this direction.”
The Vietnam summit between Kim and Trump last week collapsed over differences on how far North Korea was willing to limit its nuclear program and the degree of U.S. willingness to ease economic sanctions against the isolated country.
Trump, eager for a big foreign policy win on North Korea that has eluded his predecessors for decades, has repeatedly stressed his good relationship with Kim. He went as far late last year as saying they “fell in love,” but the bonhomie has failed so far to bridge the wide gap between the two sides.