After the New York Times reported that new satellite images revealed 16 previously hidden ballistic missile bases in North Korea, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to state that he has known about the sites all along.
In a story released on Monday, the New York Times showed evidence that North Korea is moving ahead with its ballistic missile program. The story notes that rather than dismantling its nuclear program, the country has been quietly making improvements to dozens of sites meant to bolster the launch of ballistic missiles.
North Korea has never acknowledged the existence of the missile bases, and the president has repeatedly asserted that the country has been eliminating its missile program after diplomatic talks between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“Just landed—a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!” Trump tweeted in June. “Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea. President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer—sleep well tonight!”
North Korea has stopped the testing of missiles, but they appear to still be developing nuclear materials, weapons, and launch sites. The country has also allowed inspectors to prove its main nuclear testing site has been dismantled. However, as the Times report shows, development has still continued in other areas.
North Korea has also not taken the first step toward denuclearization. This step requires giving the United States a list of its nuclear sites, missile bases, weapons, and facilities.
After the story was reported, Trump tweeted that the story was “fake news.”
“The story in the New York Times concerning North Korea developing missile bases is inaccurate,” Trump wrote. “We fully know about the sites being discussed, nothing new – and nothing happening out of the normal. Just more Fake News. I will be the first to let you know if things go bad!”
The story in the New York Times concerning North Korea developing missile bases is inaccurate. We fully know about the sites being discussed, nothing new - and nothing happening out of the normal. Just more Fake News. I will be the first to let you know if things go bad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2018
While the facts of the story appear to be accurate, experts say that the Times’ characterization of North Korea’s continued nuclear development as deceptive is inaccurate. Because there is no formal agreement between the U.S. and North Korea, the country is doing exactly what it said it would do.