CIA director Gina Haspel on Monday noted that relations between the U.S. and North Korea were better than a year ago, though also said the DPRK was unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons easily.
Speaking at Kentucky’s University of Louisville, the CIA director said that North Korea had previously claimed that nuclear weapons were essential to the DPRK’s survival, but added that dialogue between the two countries had improved relations.
“I don’t think that they want to give (the nuclear program) up easily,” Haspel said. “I do think sitting here today in 2018 that we are in a better place than we were in 2017 because of the dialogue we have established between our leaders, the President and Chairman Kim Jong Un.”
Haspel added that the CIA was working with the U.S. Department of State on a roadmap towards North Korean denuclearization.
“(The) CIA is working extremely hard to support the Administration and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo as they trying to figure out a roadmap to make (denuclearization) happen,” Haspel said.
The CIA director’s comments come at the start of a busy week in New York that will see U.S. President Donald Trump meet with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in later on Monday.
The two leaders are expected to discuss the results of the recently concluded summit between Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Trump will also speak at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday and chair a meeting of the UN Security Council the following day.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also invited North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho for a meeting, though it is currently unconfirmed.
Speaking earlier on Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump echoed remarks made by Pompeo on August 21, saying that he expected another summit with Kim in the near future.
“It looks like we’ll have a second summit quite soon,” Trump told assembled reporters at the UN.
“As you know Kim Jong Un wrote a letter – a beautiful letter – asking for a second meeting and we will be doing that.”
The U.S. President also said that Pompeo would arrange the meeting, and noted the contrast in relations with North Korea compared to a year ago, when he threatened to “totally destroy” the DPRK.
“Tremendous progress on North Korea … That was a very dangerous time. This is one year later, a much different time.”
Featured image: Wikimedia Commons
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