Despite the Singapore deal, North Korea’s up to its old tricks

It’s been just weeks since the Singapore summit, yet already North Korea seems to be breaking the deal.

US intel agencies suspect that Pyongyang has been increasing production of nuclear fuel at multiple secret sites, NBC reported Friday. And new images from 38 North, a group that monitors developments on the peninsula, show that the North has continued construction at its Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center — and “at a rapid pace.”

According to the deal signed by President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un on June 12, the North is supposed to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” And do so “expeditiously.” Production of fuel and work on a nuke site fly smack in the face of that agreement.

The activity by the North is in sharp contrast to Kim’s actions before the summit, when he destroyed several nuke facilities.

Yet the pattern’s familiar: When the North promised to denuclearize in 2008, it blew up the research center’s main cooling tower, but soon put the site back to work extracting plutonium.

Indeed, since 1994, when Pyongyang first vowed to scrap its nuke program, it has never lived up to any of its agreements.

That doesn’t mean Trump was foolish for engaging Kim and seeking a deal. That, after all, is the only way to tell if the North is finally serious about denuclearizing.

But given its record, the key today is what it’s been all along: to withhold concessions until Washington is sure Pyongyang has fully and irreversibly denuclearized.

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