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North Korea is a black hole for U.S. intelligence

The propaganda village of Gijungdong, seen from a South Korean observation tower near the DMZ. Photo: Jung Yeon-Je / AFP / Getty Images

The U.S. has “no ability” to build sources in North Korea and very limited opportunities to gather intelligence in North Korea, a former government official with experience negotiating with North Korea tells Axios. That leaves the U.S. in the dark on aspects of North Korea’s nuclear and missile development.

Why it matters: Trump is preparing to meet with North Korea's Kim Jong-un to discuss denuclearization, something Pyongyang has discussed in the past but never delivered. "Since we have no embassy there, we have no diplomatic relations with them, no real commercial interchange with them," there is little concrete information to offer policymakers, the former official said.