After his first meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un on June 12 of last year, Donald Trump declared triumphantly that he had solved the problem of the rogue state’s nuclear weapons program. When Trump had “just landed” after the flight back from Singapore, where the meeting was held, he took to his Twitter account to declare, “everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”
At the time, Trump’s sweeping claim was met with broad disbelief, largely due to the fact that the “agreement” signed by Trump and Kim at the Singapore summit meeting contained few specifics and merely “reaffirmed (Kim’s) firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” as CNN reported.
Now, Trump’s claim appears more outlandish than ever after a report by The Wall Street Journal on Friday revealed that following Trump’s meeting with Kim more than 13 months ago, North Korea may have constructed as many as 12 new nuclear weapons.
The estimate comes from a United States Defense Intelligence Agency analysis of satellite imagery taken of North Korea’s most important research and weapons-manufacturing facilities, according to The Journal. The report was published just one day after North Korea fired two unidentified projectiles, believed to be test missiles, into the Sea of Japan, which is called the East Sea by North Korea, according to a CNN report.
While North Korean media characterized the launches as “a solemn warning to South Korean military warmongers,” according to The Washington Post, a comment that indicated escalating tensions between the two Koreas, Trump appeared to shrug off the apparent missile tests.
In a Fox News interview on Thursday, Trump continued to insist that North Korea had not tested missiles since he opened talks with Kim last year, “other than, you know, smaller ones, which is something that lots test.”
Though Trump had not yet reacted to The Wall Street Journal report as of Friday afternoon, he has earlier been dismissive of warnings from U.S. intelligence agencies that North Korea has continued its nuclear program unabated since the Singapore meeting. In an ABC News interview last month, Trump said that Kim “promised me” he would not test nuclear weapons.
Though North Korea has not actually exploded a nuclear device since September 3, 2017, according to a CNN timeline, the reclusive and repressive state has “ramped up production of long-range missiles and the fissile material used in nuclear weapons,” The Journal reported. With the apparent dozen new nuclear weapons, North Korea now possesses a nuclear arsenal of between 20 and 60 bombs, according to the report.