Leading up to the much-anticipated meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore next month, a former North Korean official says the country is only putting on a show about getting rid of its nuclear weapons.
Thae Yong-Ho defected from North Korea in 2016, where he was the deputy ambassador to Great Britain. He said, “In the end, North Korea will remain a nuclear power packaged as a non-nuclear power.”
He explained that North Korea “would oppose intrusive inspections as they would be viewed as a process of breaking down Kim Jong Un’s absolute power in front of the eyes of ordinary North Koreans and elites.”
The remarks from Yong-Hu come during the recent release of his memoir, in which he states, “More people should realize that North Korea is desperately clinging to its nuclear program more than anything.”
In another report on Monday, researchers say that North Korea has already begun the dismantling of its nuclear test site in preparation for their formal agreement to de-nuclearize.
According to 38 North, “Between April 20 and May 7, 2018, the probable engineering office building and a possible instrumental shed located just outside the North Portal (where the last five underground nuclear tests have been conducted) were razed along with at least two smaller building or sheds.”
The Korean Central News Agency earlier reported that “The Nuclear Weapon Institute and other concerned institutions are taking technical measures for dismantling the northern nuclear test ground…in order to ensure transparency of discontinuance of the nuclear test.”
Trump praised the news on Twitter on May 12, saying, “North Korea has announced that they will dismantle Nuclear Test Site this month, ahead of the big Summit Meeting on June 12th. Thank you, a very smart and gracious gesture!”
To be sure, South Korea President Moon Jae-In requested that the United Nations step in to assist in verifying the shutdown of North Korea’s nuclear program. Concerned neighbor South Korea is also sending their deputy nuclear envoy to Vienna this week to discuss the initiatives with the International Atomic Energy Agency.