AP FACT CHECK: Trump misrepresents North Korea actions

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump is wrongly crediting his Singapore top, with the destruction of missile launch sites in North Korea. Without such measures are announced by the North Koreans.

Trump tweeted Sunday in response to the criticism of last week of Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader of the Senate, that the top was all show, no substance, or as the Democrat put it in the Senate notes, “what the Texans call all cattle, no hat.” He referred to all hat, no cattle.

The president countered with a number of demonstrably bad information.

TRUMP: “No nuclear testing or missiles flying all over the place, blew out the launch sites. Hostages back, the hero remains home, and much more!”

THE FACTS: This is true: North Korea announced the suspension of nuclear weapons testing and the 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 conducted a missile test since Nov. 28.

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

The summit resulted in a general agreement of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to work in the direction of 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 the launch sites. For the top, it destroyed something else — of the test site for underground nuclear explosion. Journalists witnessed the destruction of three tunnels and buildings in the neighborhood. The site may have already been compromised by the former nuclear explosions, and the destruction was a step among the many that would be needed to achieve denuclearisation.

If something is done to pull back on missile launch sites, it is marginal at best. Officials are not verified reports that North Korea may have scrapped a tripod used for missile ejection tests in May. Eject tests are a limited short step from a full-blown launch.

—Three American prisoners, the so-called hostages by Trump, were sent home in May, the latest in a series of U.S. citizens to be released in the last few years with the intervention of senior US officials. A convicted in April 2016 to 10 years in prison with hard labour after being convicted of espionage. The other two were for about a year and apparently not tried.

And, Otto Warmbier, a student sentenced to 15 years imprisonment with hard labour for stealing a propaganda poster, died in June 2017, days after he was back in the united states with a serious brain damage.

—Trump is premature in the tweet about “hero stays at home.” This can happen, if Kim agreed to work on the return of the AMERICAN troops missing in North Korea from the Korean War. But as of Friday, no remains were repatriated from North Korea since 2007.

Trump has falsely claimed that this mission has been accomplished, told reporters Friday: “He gave us the remains of our great heroes.”

Over 5,300 AMERICAN troops are still missing from North Korea. Trump has inflated the numbers of troops, which are missing in the North and whose return is bound to be located and that more than 60 years after the conflict. About 2,400 are still missing from South Korea.


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