It seemed obvious from the outset that Donald Trump was making a mistake by prematurely claiming a triumph on North Korea. Despite the circumstances, though, as regular readers know, the American president assured the world that he'd "solved" the problem posed by the rogue nuclear state, to the point that North Korea is no longer a threat.
"President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem," Trump declared last month. "No longer -- sleep well tonight!"
With each passing day, the scope of Trump's misjudgment comes into sharper focus. The Washington Post published this amazing scoop overnight;
U.S. spy agencies are seeing signs that North Korea is constructing new missiles at a factory that produced the country's first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States, according to officials familiar with the intelligence.Newly obtained evidence, including satellite photos taken in recent weeks, indicates that work is underway on at least one and possibly two liquid-fueled ICBMs at a large research facility in Sanumdong, on the outskirts of Pyongyang, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe classified intelligence.
At issue is a North Korean facility that produced the Hwasong-15 missile, which reportedly has the range needed to reach the east coast of the United States. The Post's report added, "The newly obtained evidence points to ongoing work on at least one Hwasong-15 at the Sanumdong plant, according to imagery collected by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in recent weeks."
One U.S. official told the Post, "We see them going to work, just as before."
It's almost as if the North Korean problem hasn't actually been "solved" and the rogue state is still a legitimate threat.
This new reporting follows a series of similarly discouraging accounts, including an NBC News report from a month ago pointing to increased fuel production for nuclear weapons at multiple North Korean secret sites.
Soon after, formal talks between the countries went nowhere, culminating in North Korea's foreign ministry accusing the Trump administration of making "unilateral and gangster-like" demands. (Some insiders said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's meeting went "as badly as it could have gone.")
Donald Trump, unconcerned with what's become of his previous boasts, bragged two weeks ago, "Great progress being made!" The evidence to the contrary is overwhelming.