Senators question strategy in halting NKorea’s nuke program


WASHINGTON (AP) – A State Department official has acknowledged that U.S. intelligence agencies don’t believe North Korea will ever pull the plug on its nuclear program.

Those findings have raised concern among lawmakers over the Trump administration’s strategy for bringing a mounting crisis with Pyongyang to a peaceful close.

Susan Thornton, the acting assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific, says the U.S. is “testing” the conclusion reached by the intelligence agencies by ratcheting up “international isolation and pressure” on North Korea.

She says progress is being made to convince China that North Korea is a liability, not an asset.

But Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee says North Korea views nuclear arms as its ticket to survival and won’t give them up.

Thornton testified before a Senate committee on Thursday.