US commanders: North Korea unlikely to give up all nuclear weapons
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US commanders: North Korea unlikely to give up all nuclear weapons

Admiral Philip Davidson, head of the United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), said Tuesday that Pyongyang seeks to negotiate partial denuclearization in exchange for US and international concessions. "USINDOPACOM's assessment on North Korean denuclearisation is consistent with the Intelligence Community position. That is, we think it is unlikely that North Korea will give up all of its nuclear weapons or production capabilities, but seeks to negotiate partial denuclearisation in exchange for US and international concessions," he said in his written submission to the Senate Armed Services Committee. He said although the North had taken some denuclearisation steps, that action was reversible. "Much needs to be done to make meaningful progress,” he added. Army General Robert Abrams, the commander of US forces in South Korea, also said there was a “palpable” decline in US-North Korean tensions, however, he cautioned there was little evidence showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is willing to give up his nuclear arsenal. This comes weeks before a second summit between President Donald Trump and Kim. Trump said Saturday that he would meet with the North Korean leader in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27 and 28. While Abrams credited the upcoming summit as contributing to the improved atmosphere, he offered little optimism that it would result in Trump’s goal of a nuclear-free North Korea. “I remain clear-eyed,” Abrams told the Senate hearing, adding that “little to no verifiable change has occurred in North Korea’s military capabilities.” In their first summit last year, Trump and Kim reached a vague denuclearization agreement. The ensuing talks between the two sides have, however, had little progress since then. North Korea has complained that the US has done little to reciprocate for its actions so far to dismantle some weapons facilities and freeze its weapons testing. Pyongyang has denounced what it called US "gangster-like behavior," saying Washington has betrayed the spirit of the June summit by making unilateral demands on the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization, while keeping the sanctions in place.

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