Kim Jong-un had promised US President Donald Trump during the pairs historical meeting in June 2018 that the country would work toward complete denuclearisation. However a report on The Annual Worldwide Threat Assessment from the Directorate of National Intelligence (DNI), found North Korean leaders continue to “view nuclear arms as critical to regime survival”. These findings will be humbling news to Mr Trump who had previously boasted on Twitter that “this is more than has ever been accomplished with North Korea” and that he expects “much progress”.
The report acknowledge that North Korea has been committed to the project but stopped short of confirming that enough progress had been made citing inconsistencies.
It recognised that no nuclear or missile tests had been conducted in over a year.
Pyongyang had also “reversibly dismantled” parts of its infrastructure for weapons of mass destruction, the report said.
It added: “However, we continue to assess that North Korea is unlikely to give up all of its nuclear weapons and production capabilities, even as it seeks to negotiate partial denuclearisation steps to obtain key US and international concessions.
“Our assessment is bolstered by our observations of some activity that is inconsistent with full denuclearisation.”
US national intelligence chief Dan Coats told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the administration has “eyes wide open” in its talks with the Pyongyang regime, and “we are fully engaged in providing the essential intelligence needed.”
The DNI report said that in his 2019 New Year’s address, Kim pledged that North Korea would “go toward” complete denuclearisation and promised not to make, test, use, or proliferate nuclear weapons.
However, it said Kim conditioned progress on “practical actions” by the United States and added that Pyongyang had in the past tied the idea of denuclearisation to changes in diplomatic ties, economic sanctions, and military activities.
The White House has said Mr Trump will hold a second summit with the Korean dictator around the end of February, but economic sanctions will be maintained.
On January 19, Trump said he had had “an incredible” meeting with North Korea’s nuclear envoy Kim Yong Chol in Washington and the two sides had made “a lot of progress” on denuclearisation.
Today North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Han Tae Song, said relations with the US would develop “wonderfully at a fast pace” if Washington responded to Pyongyang’s efforts on denuclearisation with trustworthy measures and practical actions.