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North Korea unlikely to denuclearize in 1 year: US intelligence chief

Muslim Times(Web Desk) – The United States’ intelligence chief says North Korea is unlikely to denuclearize in one year, even though Pyongyang can, according to him, “technically” do so and as another US official has claimed it can.

Dan Coats, the director of the US National Intelligence, said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado on Thursday that he agreed with earlier remarks by US National Security Adviser John Bolton that North Korea could dismantle its nuclear program in a year but added that such a scenario was “probably not going to happen.”

Coats said comments by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the North Korean denuclearization will be a drawn-out process were closer to reality.

“I think Secretary Pompeo has clearly said this is hard; this is going to take some time,” Coats said. “He has projected a longer time frame. … But it’s a much more complicated process than most people think.”

Earlier this month, Pompeo, who is in charge of the North Korea dossier, said getting Pyongyang to give up its military nuclear program is a “decades-long” process.

“Look, this is a decades-long challenge, getting the North Koreans to make a fundamental strategic decision, which is that the nuclear weapons that they possess today frankly present a threat to them and not security,” he said.

Pompeo has made at least three visits to North Korea, discussing with officials there a potential deal to remove international sanctions on the Asian country in return for an end to the North Korean military nuclear program.

The US secretary of state’s remarks on North Korea’s potential denuclearization process was in sharp contrast to Bolton’s, who is known for his hawkish approach toward the US’s putative adversaries but has reportedly taken a back seat on the North Korea issue.

By commenting on a North Korean denuclearization timetable in early July, Bolton also proved to be out of sync with his boss, President Donald Trump, who said just on Tuesday that there was “no time limit” in the talks with Pyongyang.

Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in a much-publicized summit in Singapore last month.

At the end of that summit, Trump and Kim signed a brief, broadly-worded document, according to which both sides committed to working toward “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” The document also did not offer a specific timeline for dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal.

While follow-on diplomacy has been ongoing since then, talks seem to have lost their momentum.

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