Convincing North Korea to abandon nuclear weapons is a “lost cause,” America’s top intelligence official said, causing concern in the State Department and ally South Korea over an issue of long-standing US policy.
The United States has always maintained it cannot accept North Korea as a nuclear state and, under President Barack Obama, has made any talks with the North conditional on Pyongyang first making some tangible commitment towards denuclearisation.
But in remarks to the Council on Foreign Relations think-tank, US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Tuesday suggested such a policy was based on wishful thinking.
“The notion of getting the North Koreans to denuclearize is probably a lost cause. They are not going to do that. That is their ticket to survival,” Clapper said.
“They are under siege, and they are very paranoid. So the notion of giving up their nuclear capability, whatever it is, is a nonstarter with them,” he added.