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Efforts to get N. Korea to denuclearize 'probably a lost cause': U.S. intelligence chief

All Headlines 04:47 October 26, 2016

By Chang Jae-soon

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 (Yonhap) -- Any effort to get North Korea to give up its nuclear program "is probably a lost cause" and putting a cap on the regime's nuclear capabilities is the "best we could probably hope for," the U.S. intelligence chief said Tuesday.

"I think the notion of getting the North Koreans to denuclearize is probably a lost cause. That is their ticket to their survival. I got a good taste of that when I was there about how the world looks from their vantage and they're under siege and they're very paranoid," Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said during a Council on Foreign Relations discussion.

He was referring to his 2014 visit to Pyongyang to win the release of two detained Americans.

"So the notion of giving up their nuclear capability, whatever it is, is a nonstarter with them ... The best we could probably hope for is some sort of a cap, but they're not going to do that just because we ask them. There's going to have to be some significant inducements," he said during the event in New York that was live-streamed on the CFR's website.

Clapper also expressed serious concern about the North's missile capabilities.

"Frankly, in the case of their intercontinental ballistic missile, KN-08 specifically, neither they nor we know whether that missile works since it's never been tested. But nevertheless, we ascribe to them the capability to launch a missile that has a weapon on it that potentially could reach parts of the United States, certainly including Alaska and Hawaii," he said.

That has been the assessment of the U.S. intelligence community for years, even though the missile has never been tested, he said, adding that the country should be prepared for the worst-case scenario.

Asked how to deal with the North, Clapper said there are a number of options, and "obviously military is one of them."

"If a military option were to be exercised, obviously we would play very heavily in that process. But that's not a decision, fortunately, that the intelligence community makes," he said.

Clapper called for greater efforts to send outside information into the North.

"What does bother me a bit is that we don't capitalize on our great weapon, which is information. And that's something they worry about a lot and their reaction to the loudspeakers being activated along the DMZ or the dropping of leaflets by NGOs over North Korea," he said, referring to nongovernmental organizations.

"They go to nuts when that happens. So that is a great vulnerability I don't think we've exploited," he added.

Efforts to get N. Korea to denuclearize 'probably a lost cause': U.S. intelligence chief - 1

jschang@yna.co.kr
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