Satellite Images Show 'Rapid' Work at N. Korea Nuke Site

This shows the need for a deal, monitoring group says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2018 6:21 AM CDT
Report: North Korea Is Still Upgrading Reactor
President Trump makes a statement before saying goodbye to North Korea leader Kim Jong Un after their meeting in Singapore.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool, File)

North Korea is talking the talk on denuclearization but there's no sign yet of it walking the walk, according to the monitoring group 38 North. The group says satellite images taken June 21—more than a week after President Trump's Singapore summit with Kim Jong Un—show that Pyongyang has kept infrastructure work at its Yongbyon nuclear reactor going at a "rapid pace," the Guardian reports. The group says that while it is difficult to determine from the images whether the reactor is operational, work on support facilities is ongoing and at least two non-industrial buildings have gone up. Kim and Trump spoke of denuclearization during the summit, though 38 North editor Jenny Town says the Yongbyon work shows a concrete deal is necessary, "not just a statement of lofty goals."

But "continued work at the Yongbyon facility should not be seen as having any relationship to North Korea’s pledge to denuclearize," 38 North notes. "The North’s nuclear cadre can be expected to proceed with business as usual until specific orders are issued from Pyongyang." In South Korea, meanwhile, officials are looking at renewing communication and even rail links with the North, though human rights groups say the issues of dissidents and defectors seem to be getting left behind, reports Reuters. "As South and North Korea have promoted this ‘mood for peace,' the defectors and North Korean human rights activist groups feel excluded," says defector Kim Tae-hee, head of the Coalition for North Korean refugees. (More North Korea stories.)

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