This year, Trump has made headlines due to his ongoing negotiations and confrontations with North Korea and its leader Kim Jong Un. At the beginning of the year, negotiations between the two were mostly hostile as the Trump administration pushed North Korea to get rid of their nuclear weapons. In recent months, the tide of that conversation has turned a bit as Trump and Kim Jong Un met in-person and agreed to denuclearization. The agreement between the two leaders is historic, symbolizing the first positive steps between the nations in many years. However, it is not entirely clear how effective or straightforward the deal between these two nations has been.
According to a recent report by the United Nations, North Korea is still developing its nuclear and missile programs despite the international sanctions and agreements made with the United States. The report from the United Nations says that Pyeongyang has stepped up some of its activities in areas which are under the sanctions. In addition, they may be defying arms embargos and the financial sanctions in place to halt their nuclear program. In a more direct quote from the Associated Press, “North Korea has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs and continued to defy Security Council resolutions through a massive increase in illicit ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products, as well as through transfers of coal at sea during 2018.”
In addition to building their own nuclear power, the report also sites that North Korea is continuing their military cooperation with Syria. It has been rumored that they have also been selling weapons to hostile groups in Yemen.
Perhaps the most surprising part of this story stems from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. In news just this past week, Pompeo indicated that North Korea is closer to denuclearization now then they were at the Summit. While the Summit was mostly agreements, Pompeo sees the country’s progress and acknowledges that they still have a way to go before the tension is fully eased between the United State and North Korea, particularly if they continue to violate sanctions and agreements.