Despite North Korea’s promise to work toward “complete denuclearization” following the historic summit with Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump earlier this month, new satellite imagery indicates North Korea is making improvements to one of its nuclear scientific research centers at a “rapid pace.”
The images published in a report from 38 North, a website that specializes in analysis of the Rogue Nation, are from June 21 and reveal construction of new buildings and the completion of a plutonium production reactor as well as other support facilities at the Yongbyon Nuclear Research Facility.
The center is North Korea’s main research facility, according to Sky News.
“Modifications to North Korea’s 5 MWe reactor’s secondary cooling loop, which began in March, appear externally complete,” according to the report. “A newly in-filled water channel (that includes a newly installed probable weir for controlling water flow) now leads to the pump house from the Kuryong River.”
The operational status of the reactor was not clear.
Although the images appear to show “improvements to infrastructure,” the report said the “continued work at the Yongbyon facility should not be seen as having any relationship to North Korea’s pledge to denuclearize.”
Trump and Kim signed an agreement in Singapore on June 12 stating that Pyongyang would work toward “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
Last week, the president underscored the point of “total denuclearization,” while noting that it “has already started taking place,” according to Reuters.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN Monday there is no timeline for when North Korea will denuclearize the peninsula, but said the U.S. is “committed to moving forward in an expeditious moment to see if we can achieve what both leaders set out to do.”
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe met on Wednesday to discuss how to ensure North Korea abandons its nuclear program.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.