Trump, Kim edging closer to second summit

Posted February 05, 2019

The president apparently was referring to testimony to Congress a day earlier when CIA chief Gina Haspel and Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, confirmed under questioning that Iran continued to comply with the sanctions relief for nuclear rollback agreement that was the signature foreign policy achievement of Trump's predecessor, President Barack Obama.

Their assessments also broke with other assertions by Trump, including on the threat posed by Russian Federation to US elections, the threat that the Islamic State militant group poses in Syria and North Korea's commitment to denuclearize. As Coats put it in his written testimony, "North Korea's leaders view nuclear arms as critical to regime survival".

Trump tweeted that intelligence officials were "extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran".

Kim has made no commitments to let North Korea's arsenal be inspected or dismantled since agreeing to "work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" in his first meeting with Trump in June previous year. "This is the same President who stood on stage in Helsinki and told the world he believed Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence leaders", Warner said, referring to a summit meeting previous year between Trump and the Russian president.

Mr Coats is a former Republican senator who serves in Mr Trump's cabinet.

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Earlier this week, USA intelligence agencies said they assess North Korea is unlikely to give up all of its WMD stockpiles, delivery systems, and production capabilities because its leaders view nuclear arms as critical to the regime's survival. "Our assessment is bolstered by our observations of some activity that is inconsistent with full denuclearisation".

President Trump has also hinted that the date and venue for his second summit with Kim Jong-un will be announced in the coming days.

In September past year, an inter-Korean summit was held where North Korea's Kim expressed willingness to close Yongbyon if the United States took the corresponding action.

Washington is willing to discuss "many actions" to improve ties and entice Pyongyang to give up nuclear weapons, the US special envoy for North Korea said on Thursday, but set out an extensive list of demands for the North, including a full disclosure of its weapons program.

In a series of dismaying Twitter rants, the apparently unbalanced US president responded to these allegations with outright lies and character assassinations.

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In a series of tweets, Trump boasted about the "tremendous progress" against ISIS. You look at North Korea. But his list of concrete achievements has not grown in the months since that meeting, and his own intelligence chiefs believe there is little likelihood Kim will voluntarily give up his nuclear weapons or the missiles capable of carrying them.

Trump has long expressed displeasure about the presence of 28,500 USA troops in South Korea, and says Seoul isn't paying enough for the troop deployment.

CNN also reported Wednesday that Coats, the nation's top intelligence official, who was appointed by Trump, had been singled out by name during a morning rant by the President as he watched highlights of the hearing.

"They very much want the meeting", Trump said in his Oval Office remarks.

In contrast, President Trump has stated that there is "a decent chance" of North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons. In May 2018, Trump withdrew the USA from that accord, which he called a awful deal that would not stop Iran from going nuclear.

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