The Trump administration is urging patience on North Korea amid a flurry of developments this week that appear to offer conflicting portraits of the United States’s diplomatic efforts. President TrumpDonald John TrumpHHS official who spread Pizzagate conspiracy theory out at agency Washington Posts asks for help identifying Trump’s golf partners Prankster puts Putin portrait in Colorado Capitol where Trump’s portrait would be MORE on Friday lauded the North’s return of service members’ remains from the Korean War, thanking North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for “keeping his word.” The administration also touted the beginning of the destruction of a missile engine testing site as Pyongyang living up to the commitments Kim made at last months’s summit in Singapore. And while Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoProtecting religious freedom provides common ground for all The Hill’s 12:30 Report Trump thanks Kim for ‘fulfilling a promise’ with return of Korean War remains MORE admitted to senators this week that North Korea is still producing the material necessary to make nuclear bombs, experts say that is something to be expected – and not necessarily a sign of faltering diplomacy – as bilateral talks develop. “North Korea never pledged to immediately halt all activities,” said Jenny Town, a research analyst and managing director at U.S.-based North Korea monitor 38 North. “It’s not surprising to see activity continue,” Town said. “Although I would say we would expect the activity to be at low levels and no new projects pursued.” Since Trump’s summit with Kim in June, several reports have surfaced calling into question Pyongyang’s willingness to surrender its nuclear capabilities. News reports citing U.S. intelligence have suggested North Korea is working to conceal production facilities, and analyses of satellite imagery have shown continued expansion of nuclear and missile facilities. Pompeo’s trip to Pyongyang earlier this month – his third to the city – also appeared to produce little progress
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