As late as last week, President Trump claimed he was in no rush to reach a nuclear deal with North Korea because "the sanctions are on, the missiles have stopped, the rockets have stopped." And while it is true that North Korea has suspended its missile testing since Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un started discussing a deal, Pyongyang has been "moving ahead with its ballistic missile program at 16 hidden bases that have been identified in new commercial satellite images," The New York Times reports, a network "long known to American intelligence agencies but left undiscussed" during Trump's North Korean thaw.
"The sanctions are collapsing," too, the Times notes, "in part because North Korea has leveraged its new, softer-sounding relationship with Washington, and its stated commitment to eventual denuclearization, to resume trade with Russia and China." But the bigger deception is that North Korea "has offered to dismantle a major launching site — a step it began, then halted — while continuing to make improvements at more than a dozen others that would bolster launches of conventional and nuclear warheads." Pyongyang has an estimated 40 to 60 nuclear warheads, and it continues to make the materials to build new warheads, weapons experts say.
The 16 secret bases were identified in a study published Monday by the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Beyond Parallel program. Victor Cha, a Koreas expert almost named ambassador to South Korea by Trump, led the team studying the images. "What everybody is worried about is that Trump is going to accept a bad deal — they give us a single test site and dismantle a few other things, and in return they get a peace agreement," Cha said. Trump "would then declare victory, say he got more than any other American president ever got, and the threat would still be there." Read more about the bases and the "great deception" at The New York Times. Peter Weber