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Skepticism prevails in US about NK commitment

2024-07-13 20:32:59      点击:443
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies before the House Appropriations Committee on a budget request for the Department of State in Washington,<strong></strong> Thursday (KST). EPA-Yonhap
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies before the House Appropriations Committee on a budget request for the Department of State in Washington, Thursday (KST). EPA-Yonhap

By Kim Yoo-chul

Senior U.S. diplomats and military officials are voicing skepticism toward North Korea's commitment to denuclearization.

This indicates worsening sentiment toward the Kim Jong-un regime among U.S. officials following the Hanoi summit between President Donald Trump and Kim.

Speaking at a House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing, Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the regime has yet to make the "big move" toward scrapping its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

"We have not yet seen them make the big move that we were frankly hoping that they would do in Hanoi. Our diplomatic efforts toward the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea are the most successful that have ever been undertaken," he said in a written statement to the House Appropriations Committee before testifying on the State Department's 2020 budget request.

"We remain committed to that goal. This budget provides for our diplomatic outreach to continue implementation and enforcement of sanctions until we achieve our objective."

In Hanoi, Trump and Kim failed to reach a deal. U.S. President Donald Trump wanted to "go big," sealing an abandonment of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs in exchange for sanctions relief. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wanted sanctions to be "significantly eased" in return for significant concessions.

U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) Commander Gen. Robert Abrams has remained in synchronization with Pompeo's view as he also warned lawmakers that Washington might not have sufficient intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities on the peninsula.

"North Korean activity observed by the United States is inconsistent with denuclearization, making it necessary for the United States to maintain a postured and ready force to deter any possible aggressive actions. Little to no verifiable change has occurred in North Korea's capabilities," Abrams said.

Separately, the nominee to become Washington's top diplomat for East Asia said Washington "will not ease pressure" on North Korea based on its earlier commitment to denuclearize.

At his confirmation hearing, David Stillwell, a retired Air Force general, said the United States isn't going to "pull back just on their word." He went on to say the steady pressure will continue to have an effect.

Such comments run counter to Seoul's hopes that concessions such as a partial sanctions easing or early resumption of frozen inter-Korean business projects will break the impasse of denuclearization talks between the United States and the North.

South Korea is considering options to keep the momentum of the denuclearization talks alive. Holding a new summit between the leaders of the Koreas at Panmunjeom sometime in April is considered as one of the possibilities, Cheong Wa Dae officials said.




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