WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that North Korea was blowing up four of its big test sites and that a process of “total denuclearisation … has already started taking place.”
Speaking at a meeting of his Cabinet at the White House, Trump said: “They’ve stopped the sending of missiles, including ballistic missiles. They’re destroying their engine site. They’re blowing it up. They’ve already blown up one of their big test sites, in fact it’s actually four of their big test sites.
“And the big thing is it will be a total denuclearization, which has already started taking place.”
Asked on Wednesday whether North Korea has done anything toward denuclearisation since a landmark summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters:
“No, I’m not aware of that. I mean, obviously, it’s the very front end of a process. The detailed negotiations have not begun. I wouldn’t expect that at this point.”
Mattis was sat next to Trump at Thursday’s Cabinet meeting.
The U.S.-based North Korea monitoring group 38 North said in an analysis at the end of last week there had been no sign of any activity toward dismantling Sohae or any other missile test site.
(Reporting by Jim Oliphant, David Brunnstrom, Idrees Ali and Tim Ahmann in Washington; Editing by James Dalgleish)