US Intelligence Agency chief says North Korea is ‘not ready to denuclearize’

  25 June 2019    Read: 1167
US Intelligence Agency chief says North Korea is ‘not ready to denuclearize’

US Defence Intelligence Agency Director Lieutenant General Robert Ashley said on Monday that the US intelligence community does not believe North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is ready to denuclearize following the earlier agreement with US President Donald Trump.

A summit in February between Kim and Trump ended up without any agreement, as the two leaders were unable to bridge differences between US demands for denuclearization and North Korean demands for sanctions relief.

"We still continue to assess within the IC (intelligence community) that Kim Jong Un is not ready to denuclearize," Ashley told Fox News.

Trump will visit South Korea this weekend for a two-day visit and will meet President Moon Jae-in on Sunday, following a summit of G20 leaders in Japan, Moon's spokeswoman, Ko Min-jung, said on Monday. Trump and Moon will have “in-depth discussions on ways to work together to foster lasting peace,” Ko told a news briefing.

The announcement came hours after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he hoped a letter Trump sent to Kim could pave the way for a revival of talks that have stalled since the failed second summit between Trump and Kim in February. Trump and Kim have exchanged several letters since then.

Trump told reporters at the White House that Kim had sent him birthday wishes. “It was just a very friendly letter both ways. We have a very good relationship,” he said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who spoke of Trump’s letter to Kim before leaving Washington on Sunday for a trip to the Middle East and Asia, said Washington was ready to resume talks with North Korea immediately, adding that he was “hopeful that this will provide a good foundation for us to begin… these important discussions with the North Koreans.”

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