January 31, 2019 13:09
U.S. National Intelligence Director Dan Coats has told a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, "We currently assess that North Korea will seek to retain its [weapons of mass destruction] capabilities, and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities."
"Our assessment is bolstered by our observations of some activity that is inconsistent with full denuclearization," he added. Other top U.S. intelligence officials including the heads of the CIA, NSA and DIA, were also present at the hearing and agreed that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is focusing on developing intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of delivering a nuclear payload to the continental U.S.
With just about a month left until the second U.S-North Korea summit, top American intelligence officials were giving President Donald Trump information that flies in the face of his claim that denuclearization is achievable through negotiations and "tremendous progress" had been made. It does not take a genius to decide whether to believe Trump, who has made it a habit of exaggerating and misstating the facts to boast about his achievements, or U.S. intelligence officials who have dedicated their lives to protecting their country's security.
A majority of security experts in South Korea and the U.S. have been advising against taking Kim Jong-un's denuclearization pledge at face value. No country that has succeeded in acquiring nuclear weapons so far has given them up, and North Korea already has scores of nuclear warheads. But Trump and President Moon Jae-in simply want to trust Kim's intentions. They boasted ahead of the first U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore last year that denuclearization would be achieved shortly. After the summit, the only thing that disappeared was joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises.
The second summit could very well end with an announcement of a long list of secondary achievements wrapped up to look like major accomplishments, while the core problem of North Korea's nuclear weapons and uranium-enrichment program remain unsolved.
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