US commander says N.Korea unlikely to give up all nuclear weapons

An Air China Boeing 747. Kim Jong Un could rent a plane from China again if he places priority on safety

Trump has been eager for a second summit with Kim even though their first meeting in Singapore in June produced only vague commitments from Kim and little concrete progress since.

Abrams, Davidson and several Republican Armed Services Committee members endorsed the president's second summit, saying they hoped to see the North Koreans commit to dismantling their nuclear programs transparently.

The U.S. hopes North Korea will give up its nuclear weapons in exchange for an end to punishing global sanctions.

US and North Korean officials are set to hold more talks next week but hopes for concrete steps toward North Korea's denuclearization are fading.

After that first summit, Trump called off large-scale joint exercises with South Korea.

Consistent with the annual World Threat Assessment issued by the USA intelligence community last month, Adm. Davidson contradicted Trump's assertion that North Korea is "no longer a nuclear threat", noting, "We think it is unlikely that North Korea will give up all of its nuclear weapons or production capabilities, but seeks to negotiate partial denuclearization in exchange for USA and worldwide concessions".

The White House declined comment on Davidson's remarks.

2 - He is also reported to have said that sanctions alone will not bring about North Korea's denuclearization, and that agreements will have to be made step-by-step.

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The U.S. Special Representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, said the two sides did not so much negotiate as state their positions in talks last week. He's now said that more than a dozen issues were discussed during those talks.

3a - There was talk after the first summit that a joint liaison office between North Korea and US could be established in North Korea.

Davidson also noted that North Korea had demanded "corresponding" US steps and that Kim had warned in a New Year speech of a potential "new path", which could indicate an eventual return to weapons testing, if he was not satisfied with the negotiations.

"With only two weeks until the summit, it will be hard to resolve all the tricky issues, but there's a chance if we can agree on a timeline (for denuclearization)", a South Korean delegation member quoted Biegun as saying.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., raised concerns that Trump could make a bad trade in the talks, such as removing American troops from South Korea. If it goes ahead, it will be the first state visit by a North Korean leader since Kim's grandfather, Kim Il-Sung, back in 1964.

Researchers said a pause in testing since 2017 had limited North Korea's capability but that its weapons posed a real threat to nearby Japan and South Korea.

The production came in spite of nuclear talks with the USA led by the historic summit in Singapore last June. "These capabilities continue to hold the United States, [South Korea] and our regional allies at risk".

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