Denuclearise North Korea ‘a lost cause’

The US policy of trying to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons “is probably a lost cause” and the best that could be hoped for is a cap on the country’s nuclear capability, the director of US National Intelligence James Clapper said on Tuesday.

However, underscoring conflicting views in the President Barack Obama’s administration, the State Department said US policy was unchanged and continued to be to seek the “verifiable denuclearisation” of the Korean peninsula.

Mr Obama has repeatedly stated the US will never accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state.

Mr Clapper made clear at an event at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank in New York he did not think that the policy the administration has stuck to, in spite of repeated North Korean nuclear tests, was realistic.

“I think the notion of getting the North Koreans to denuclearise is probably a lost cause,” Mr Clapper said at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank in New York.

“They are not going to do that — that is their ticket to survival.”

Pyongyang has persisted with its missile and nuclear weapons programs, including a September 9 nuclear explosion, despite strong international sanctions.

Mr Clapper said he got a good taste of how the world looks from North Korea’s viewpoint when he went to Pyongyang on a mission in 2014 to secure the release of two Americans held there.

“They are under siege and they are very paranoid, so the notion of giving up their nuclear capability, whatever it is, is a non-starter with them,” he said.

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