'Unlikely North Korea will be denuclearized in a year'

U.S. National Intelligence Director: It is technically possible but not likely North Korea will eliminate nuclear weapons within a year.

Ben Ariel ,

Dan Coats
Dan Coats

U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said on Thursday that, while it is technically possible for North Korea to eliminate its nuclear weapons program within a year, it was not really likely to happen.

Coats spoke at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado and was quoted by Reuters.

Asked about White House national security adviser John Bolton's recent statement that North Korea could denuclearize in a year, Coats replied, "It's technically possible but probably not going to happen."

"I think Secretary (of State Mike) Pompeo has clearly said this is hard, this is going to take some time," Coats added. "He has projected a longer time frame. ... But it's a much more complicated process than most people think."

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held a historic summit in Singapore last month in which they signed an agreement including a commitment to achieve total denuclearization of Korea, with promises to pursue “vigorous negotiations” to that end.

Recently, Trump voiced confidence that Kim would “honor” his commitment to denuclearize.

“I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake. We agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea. China, on the other hand, may be exerting negative pressure on a deal because of our posture on Chinese Trade-Hope Not!” he tweeted.

Pompeo has also expressed confidence that North Korea understood the scope of the U.S. desire for complete denuclearization.

“We’ve been pretty unambiguous in our conversations about what we mean when we say complete denuclearization,” the Secretary of State recently told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on funding for the State Department.