AP FACT CHECK: Trump falsehoods on N. Korea

Published 8:16 am Wednesday, June 20, 2018

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is exaggerating the achievements of his Singapore summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, claiming the North has destroyed missile launch sites and no longer has “rockets flying over the place.”

That’s a distorted picture.

TRUMP: “No more nuclear testing or rockets flying all over the place, blew up launch sites. Hostages already back, hero remains coming home & much more!” — tweet Sunday.

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THE FACTS: This much is true: North Korea announced the suspension of nuclear-weapons testing and testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles in April, to soften the ground for the diplomatic opening with South Korea and the U.S. North Korea has not conducted a missile test since Nov. 28.

But it remains in possession of fissile material for a dozen to 60 nuclear bombs, independent experts say. Last year, it tested long-range missiles that could reach the U.S. mainland, although it’s not certain that the North has mastered the technology to deliver a nuclear warhead that could re-enter the atmosphere and hit its target.

The summit produced a general agreement from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to work toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, but there were no specific commitments on eliminating or even reducing his country’s nuclear arsenal.

As for Trump’s other points, North Korea has not said it blew up launch sites. And he is premature in asserting “hero remains coming home.” This may happen, as Kim agreed to work toward the return of U.S. troops missing in North Korea from the Korean War. But as of Friday, no remains have been repatriated from North Korea since 2007.