No stop­ping N Korea’s nu­clear pro­gram, says US in­tel chief

The Myanmar Times - - World -

EF­FORTS to con­vince North Korea to give up its nu­clear pro­gram and “denuclearise” the Korean Penin­sula are bound to fail, US Di­rec­tor of Na­tional In­tel­li­gence James Clapper said.

The US is set to de­ploy its THAAD mis­sile de­fence sys­tem to South Korea as soon as pos­si­ble, de­spite op­po­si­tion from China, in an ef­fort to pro­tect against North Korea’s pur­suit of mis­sile and nu­clear tech­nol­ogy.

“The no­tion of get­ting the North Koreans to denuclearise is prob­a­bly a lost cause. They are not go­ing to do that. That is their ticket to sur­vival,” Mr Clapper said.

“And I got a good taste of that when I was there, about how the world looks from their van­tage. And they are un­der siege, and they are very para­noid. So the no­tion of giv­ing up their nu­clear ca­pa­bil­ity, what­ever it is, is a non­starter with them.”

Mr Clapper, who went on a se­cret mis­sion to North Korea in Novem­ber 2014 to res­cue two Amer­i­can prison­ers, over­sees the 17 US in­tel­li­gence agen­cies, in­clud­ing the CIA and Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency.

State Depart­ment spokesper­son John Kirby re­buffed Mr Clapper’s po­si­tion, stress­ing that “noth­ing has changed about our pol­icy with re­spect to the North. We want to con­tinue to see a ver­i­fi­able de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion of the penin­sula.

“We want to see a re­turn to the six-party talk process, and that means we need to see the North show a will­ing­ness and an abil­ity to re­turn to that process which they haven’t done yet.”

The talks be­tween the her­mit state, China, Ja­pan, Rus­sia, South Korea and the United States have been frozen for years.

Re­tired US diplo­mats met se­nior Py­ongyang of­fi­cials in Malaysia over the week­end, the lat­est in a se­ries of un­of­fi­cial talks com­monly re­ferred to as Track 2 that are closely mon­i­tored in the ab­sence of any of­fi­cial con­tact be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Py­ongyang.

In July, the North cut off its only re­main­ing of­fi­cial chan­nel of diplo­matic com­mu­ni­ca­tions with the US in re­tal­i­a­tion for Amer­i­can sanc­tions against its leader, Kim Jong-un.

North Korea has been hit by five sets of UN sanc­tions since it first tested a nu­clear de­vice in 2006.

After Py­ongyang car­ried out its fourth nu­clear test in Jan­uary, the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil adopted the tough­est sanc­tions res­o­lu­tion to date, tar­get­ting North Korea’s trade in min­er­als and tight­en­ing bank­ing re­stric­tions.

The on­go­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions on the new sanc­tions mea­sure are focused on clos­ing loop­holes and ze­ro­ing in on the North’s nu­clear and bal­lis­tic mis­sile tech­nol­ogy in­dus­try. –

Photo: AFP

James Clapper feels North Korea is too para­noid to give in.

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