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Top US General: N. Korea Hasn't Nixed Nuke Production

'Production capability is still intact,' Army Gen. Vincent Brooks says
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2018 7:09 AM CDT
US Gen. Vincent Brooks speaks during an opening ceremony for the new headquarters of the US Forces Korea (USFK) at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, South Korea on June 29, 2018.   (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, Pool)

(Newser) – President Trump declared North Korea was "no longer a nuclear threat" after his summit last month with Kim Jong Un, but the latest assessment from the Korean Peninsula's top US military commander offers a different take. The North's nuclear "production capability is still intact," Army Gen. Vincent Brooks, via a video link, told Aspen Security Forum attendees Saturday, adding that there's been no "complete shutdown" and no sign of fuel rods being removed. CNBC notes that what Brooks is saying jibes with a Washington Post report Sunday on a frustrated Trump and "stiff resistance from a North Korean team practiced in the art of delay and obfuscation." Some of that resistance has included canceled follow-up meetings, requests for more money, and a lack of communication, as well as a still-intact missile-engine testing site Trump vowed would be dismantled.

"There has to be demonstrable action [toward denuclearization] or we cannot be satisfied and we probably can't be friends and we probably won't be at peace," Brooks said, per CNBC, though he stressed it was critical not to "overreact" and for the US and the North to build trust. He also expressed hope that steps toward denuclearization would happen. "[Kim] has really demonstrated he is a man of his word in a number of ways," Brooks said, per Voice of America. Others didn't share his optimism. "This is not the time to be putting the brakes on maximum pressure," said Rep. Mike McCaul, head of the House Homeland Security Committee. "This is a time [to] be putting the accelerator on." Brooks also relayed that the remains of "some" Americans killed in the Korean War would make their way home, per CNN. "The pain of those families is as acute today as it was then," he told the forum. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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