Washingtin Examiner: North Korea still making nuclear bombs22 July 2018 | 18:37 | FOCUS News Agency
“Their production capability is still intact,” Army Gen. Vincent Brooks, the commander of U.S. forces in South Korea, told the Aspen Security Forum. “We haven't seen a complete shutdown of production yet. We have not seen a removal of fuel rods.”
Brooks pledged not to “overreact to things like that,” arguing that the persistence of such equipment and capabilities can amount to a negotiating tactic by the North Koreans in the early stages of the denuclearization process. "It could mean several things, and, not excluding any one of those potential messages is very important," he said.
But his remarks prefaced a round of skeptical commentary from a top Republican lawmaker who believes that dictator Kim Jong Un doesn’t feel the necessary pressure to dismantle his weapons of mass destruction.
“What I've seen since Singapore is actually not maximum pressure, but rather a loosening of sanctions in terms of enforcement,” House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said Saturday.
McCaul directed most of his criticism at China and Russia, noting that U.S. officials have presented the United Nations Security Council with “clear and convincing evidence” that both countries are helping North Korea to evade oil sanctions. President Trump also erred, according to McCaul, by suspending military exercises unilaterally and using loaded language to when he referred to the drills as “war games.”
“It mimics what the North Koreans say, and I don't think it was very astute or helpful,” McCaul said of Trump’s comments.
He approved of the president’s threat to bring “fire and fury” to the regime if Kim continued with his missile tests, saying that rhetoric heightened “a fear factor” in the dictator’s mind.
“At the end of the day, he has to feel the heat and the threat of the military option on the table,” McCaul said.“I don't think we ought to be making really any concessions until they really start moving forward in a very strong concrete positive way towards denuclearization.”
Brooks maintained that the U.S. military is currently the “enforcer of the armistice” and “the enabler” of the diplomatic process. “There has to be some risk taking in order to build trust and thats really where we are right now,” he suggested.
But if that trust still needs to be built, the general took an optimistic tone. “There are still steps that must be taken on the road to denuclearization — which Chairman Kim has said he will do,” Brooks said. “He has given his word on that and we will take him at his word. He has demonstrated that he really is a man of his word, in a number of ways; but, thus, far those steps have not been taken.”
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