WASHINGTON – While the White House is pushing for peace with North Korea, a new report reveals the regime may have as many as 20 hidden missile bases within the country.
According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, those hidden bases, while not specifically "launch facilities," are capable of launching intercontinental ballistic and short-range missiles.
Since the June 12 Singapore summit, President Donald Trump has been optimistic about America's improved relationship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
"The sanctions are on. The missiles have stopped. The rockets have stopped. The hostages are home. The great heroes have been coming home," Trump told reporters.
The president doubled down on that sentiment in a tweet Wednesday, calling the report of additional bases nothing new.
"The story in the New York Times concerning North Korea developing missile bases is inaccurate," he tweeted. "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
Meanwhile, most foreign policy experts agree Kim regime's actions aren't really a surprise.
"If you go back to Jan. 1 of this year, Kim Jong Un did a speech he does every year. Basically, he declared he would mass produce nuclear warheads and missiles – that's what he's doing," said Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest.
So far, the administration isn't budging on its demands that North Korea lay down its nukes.
"The president has made it very clear – no economic relief until we have achieved our ultimate objective," said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
It's a precarious game of tug-of-war.
"The North Koreans want all the sanctions lifted, at least a lot of them, before they start rolling back their nuclear weapons," said Kazianis. "The challenge is the United States wants the exact opposite. The question is who goes first?"
It's a question the administration may believe it has already answered. Many people see the president's agreement to participate in that historic Singapore summit as the US making the first move. Now they feel it's Kim's turn to step up to the plate.