North Korea is carrying out improvements at its nuclear testing facility, new research has discovered.
The work at the facility comes despite a pledge by the country to completely denuclearise following the summit between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump.
New satellite images of the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Centre show that upgrades are being carried out ‘at a rapid pace’, according to North Korea analysis organisation 38 North.
Pictures taken on 21 June show that modifications to equipment are ongoing, new buildings are being erected and a radiochemical laboratory is seemingly still active.
Analysts at 38 North note that, despite the promises made at the summit, workers at the nuclear plant would be expected to continue as usual until specific orders to the contrary are made by Pyongyang.
The new evidence pours water on Donald Trump’s claim last week that the process of ‘total denuclearisation’ was underway.
The President told a White House meeting that the North had already blown up four of its biggest nuclear test sites, despite there being no evidence to support this.
‘They’ve stopped the sending of missiles, including ballistic missiles. They’re destroying their engine site,’ Mr Trump said.
‘They’re blowing it up. They’ve already blown up one of their big test sites, in fact it’s actually four of their big test sites.
‘And the big thing is it will be a total denuclearisation, which has already started taking place.’
Despite the President’s bluster, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo admitted this week that there was no specific timeline for steps towards denuclearisation.
Speaking to CNN, Mr Pompeo, who has been tasked with leading the negotiations, said that he planned to regularly assess the progress towards abandoning nuclear power by the regime.
‘I am not going to put a timeline on it, whether that’s two months, six months, we are committed to moving forward in an expeditious moment to see if we can achieve what both leaders set out to do,’ he said.
Last week the President signed an executive order acknowledging that North Korea still poses an ‘extraordinary threat’ to the US.
Mr Trump extended the ‘national emergency’ against the regime for a further year, allowing America to continue stringent economic sanctions.
The executive order states that ‘the existence and risk of proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material’ and the actions and policies of the North Korean government ‘continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States’.