U.S.-North Korean diplomatic talks have lessened hostilities between the two countries, but Pyongyang hasn’t shown verifiable denuclearization or change in the capability of its military forces, U.S. military officials in the Pacific said Tuesday on Capitol Hill.
As President Donald Trump plans his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for Feb. 27-28 in Vietnam, the administration is facing mounting pressure to produce results from its high-stakes diplomatic efforts. The first summit in Singapore in June generated headlines and optimism, but few developments.
“Despite a reduction in tensions along the [Demilitarized Zone] and a cessation of strategic provocations coupled with public statements of intent to denuclearize, little to no verifiable change has occurred in North Korea’s military capabilities,” U.S. Forces Korea’s commander, Army Gen. Robert Abrams, told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
In an exchange with SASC ranking member Jack Reed, D-R.I., Abrams affirmed the U.S. presence and posture in South Korea is appropriate to deter Pyongyang, and that South Korea and Japan would be concerned without that presence.