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U.S. commander says North Korea unlikely to give up all its nuclear weapons


FILE PHOTO: Admiral Philip S. Davidson (L), Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, meets with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Abe’s office in Tokyo, Japan June 21, 2018. Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool via Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Weeks before a second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the top U.S. military commander for Asia on Tuesday echoed an intelligence assessment that North Korea is unlikely to give up all its nuclear weapons.

Although he expressed optimism about the Feb. 27-28 summit in verbal testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Admiral Philip Davidson, head of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, expressed doubts about North Korean intentions in his written submission to the panel.

“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 U.S. and international concessions,” it said.

Last month, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told Congress he believed it was unlikely North Korea would give up all its nuclear weapons and had continued activity inconsistent with pledges to denuclearize.

Trump has been eager to hold a second summit with Kim even though their first meeting in Singapore in June produced only vague commitments from the North Koreans and little concrete progress since.

Trump and Kim’s next summit is to be held in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi.

Reporting by David Brunnstrom; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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