US would be at war with North Korea ‘if not for me,’ Trump says
WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump said Tuesday that the United States would be at war with North Korea without his efforts and that conversations with the nation’s leaders are ‘‘going well’’ - an assessment at odds with recent reports that North Korea is working to conceal key aspects of its nuclear weapons program.
The president’s comments in a morning tweet followed a report Saturday in The Washington Post that U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that North Korea does not intend to fully surrender its nuclear arms stockpile and instead is considering ways to conceal the number of weapons it has and its secret production facilities.
In his rosy assessment, Trump claimed that ‘‘only the Opposition Party’’ and the news media are presenting a different picture of his efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula in the wake of his June 12 summit with North Korea leader Jim Jong Un.
Many good conversations with North Korea-it is going well! In the meantime, no Rocket Launches or Nuclear Testing in 8 months. All of Asia is thrilled. Only the Opposition Party, which includes the Fake News, is complaining. If not for me, we would now be at War with North Korea!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2018
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to depart on July 5 for his third trip to North Korea to continue negotiations.
Evidence newly obtained by U.S. officials points to preparations to deceive the United States about the number of nuclear warheads in North Korea’s arsenal as well as the existence of undisclosed facilities used to make fissile material for nuclear bombs, officials told The Post.
The findings support a new, previously undisclosed Defense Intelligence Agency estimate that North Korea is unlikely to denuclearize.
Trump has offered exuberant assessments about progress with North Korea for weeks, declaring in a previous tweet that ‘‘there is no longer a nuclear threat’’ from North Korea. At a recent rally, he also said he had ‘‘great success’’ with Pyongyang.
The Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima and Joby Warrick contributed to this report.