Top U.S. diplomat in belief that N. Korea will continue to produce nuclear weapons

Neil West, Sept. 18, 2019, 10:48 a.m.

The top American diplomat for East Asia said Wednesday he assumes North Korea continues to make nuclear weapons but declined to offer details.

The remark by David Stilwell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, comes as Washington and Pyongyang are expected to resume denuclearization negotiations soon, although no meetings have been scheduled.

Talks have been stalled since February's summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended without a deal due to differences over the scope of Pyongyang's denuclearization and sanctions relief from the U.S.

Asked if he believes North Korea is producing nuclear weapons, Stilwell told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "I assume they are."

Asked about the number of nuclear weapons, he said he would speak in a separate setting.

Stilwell added that the Trump administration's policy is still the "full, verified denuclearization" of North Korea and that its "maximum pressure" sanctions campaign against Pyongyang continues.

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