‘No other realistic option’: Former intelligence chief says US needs to accept North Korea’s nuclear capability

‘No other realistic option’: Former intelligence chief says US needs to accept North Korea’s nuclear capability


james clapper
Former Director of National Intelligence James
Clapper.

AP

  • Former Director of National Intelligence James
    Clapper said that “the North Koreans are not going to
    denuclearize” and that negotiations between North and South
    Korea would be beneficial.
  • Clapper’s comments come amid rumors of a looming North
    Korean missile test and US ambassador to the United Nations
    Nikki Haley’s fiery warning that the US will not take the
    bilateral talks seriously.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper gave s
sobering assessment of North Korea’s efforts to advance its
nuclear and missile capabilities during an interview with CNN on
Tuesday.

“That train left station a long time ago,” Clapper said of North
Korea’s willingness to halt its weapons program. “The North
Koreans are not going to denuclearize.”

Clapper’s comments stood in contrast to
a fiery warning from the US
ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who said on Tuesday
that the US would not take talks between South Korea and North
Korea seriously after South Korea proposed holding high-level
talks between the two nations at the North-South Korean border.

“We won’t take any of the talks seriously if they don’t do
something to ban all nuclear weapons in North Korea,” Haley said
during a press conference Tuesday. “We consider this to be a very
reckless regime, we don’t think we need a Band-Aid and we don’t
think we need to smile and take a picture.”

“So North Korea can talk with anyone they want but the US is not
going to recognize it or acknowledge it until they agree to ban
the nuclear weapons that they have,” Haley continued.


north korea missile
An
intermediate-range ballistic missile test in this undated photo
released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) May
22, 2017.

KCNA/via
REUTERS


South Korea’s willingness to negotiate with North Korea came
after the annual New Year’s Day speech given by North Korean
leader Kim Jong Un who, according to Reuters, said that he was
“open to dialogue” with South Korea, which is set to host the
2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

But Kim Jong Un’s remarks also accompany new reports that North
Korea may be staging another missile test in the
coming days, military officials told NBC News.

Clapper said he was not discouraged by a dichotomy between a
possible missile test and negotiations.

“I can well envision a scenario where they would juxtapose a
missile test and as well agree to talk with the South Koreans,
which I think would be a good thing,” Clapper said. “It would do
a lot, I think, to relax some of the tensions. I think
negotiation is the only way ahead here, to me is no other
realistic option.”

A thaw between the two Koreas would follow what had been
considerably icy relations between the North and South in 2017,
after North Korea conducted several missile tests, including one
that reached the highest altitude achieved by the
country
. And while White House officials have been quick to
fire off threats against a nuclear North Korea, many North Korea
analysts have
reached conclusions
similar to Clapper’s.

“And I think for the moment, we have to accept the fact that the
North Koreans have a nuclear capability,” Clapper said. “They are
going to insist on proving it, because when they do talk, when
they do negotiate, they want to do so from a position of
strength.”

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