WA (AP) — North Korean chief Kim Jong Un’s long-term objective is to reunify the divided Korean Peninsula under his totalitarian authorities, the senior U. S. Navy blue officer overseeing military operations within the Pacific told lawmakers Wednesday.

Adm. Harry Harris Jr. said during testimony prior to the House Armed Services Committee which prevailing view that Kim requires a nuclear arsenal to safeguard his program. But Harris says Kim can be after much more.

“I think we have been self-limiting if we view North Korea’s nuclear ambitions as solely a quick way to safeguard his regime, ” mentioned Harris, who leads U. Ersus. Pacific Command. “I do think which he is after reunification under a solitary communist system. So he’s right after what his grandfather failed to perform and his father failed to do plus he’s on a path to achieve exactly what he feels is his organic place. ”

Kim’s father plus grandfather were the late Northern Korean rulers Kim Jong Arianne and Kim Il Sung.

Harris also said North Korea’s improving nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs put “him in a position to blackmail the South and other countries in the area and us. ”

The accounts from Harris, an officer whoms been in uniform for nearly 40 years plus speaks bluntly, came as sportsmen from North Korea are taking part in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Southern Korea. The games led to an extraordinary moment of reconciliation between the competitors but their decades-long animosities could quickly erupt again after the Olympics.

Harris called North Korea’s Olympic abordnung, which included Kim’s sister Kim Hey Jong, a “charm offensive. inch He said it behooves the particular U. S. and South Korea “not to be charmed” by Pyongyang and to consider North Korea “for the regime it is and to cope with it on the basis of fact, not elegance. ”

Top U. S. cleverness officials on Tuesday delivered their own latest threat assessment, telling the particular Senate Intelligence Committee that the danger of conflict with North Korea is higher today than anytime since the end of the Cold Battle. Their wide-ranging intelligence report furthermore said North Korea will likely perform more missile tests this year instead of negotiate away its nuclear features.

Vice President Mike Pence, who had been in Pyeongchang for the start of the Olympics, said the U. S. is definitely open for talks without preconditions with North Korea, a delicate shift in White House plan. But diplomacy between Washington plus Pyongyang won’t start unless Betty Jong Un wants it in order to.

Harris insisted that any upcoming talks with Pyongyang “must become focused on achieving a complete, verifiable, plus irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. ” But he didn’t recommend a change in U. S. plan, telling the committee that the Condition Department’s campaign to pressure Northern Korea to abandon its nuclear program is “what we should be performing. ”

The admiral said The far east, which is North Korea’s main investing partner, “can and should do more” as part of the pressure campaign. Harris furthermore criticized Russia’s “limited contributions. inch

He said China and Russian federation host 75 percent of the approximately 80, 000 North Korean “guest workers” employed abroad. These employees are allowed to leave the country yet must send most of what they acquire back to the government’s coffers within Pyongyang. The U. S. continues to be urging countries not to host the particular workers as part of a broader energy to cut off the cash North Korea needs to finance its nuclear plan.

Harris has led U. H. Pacific Command since May 2015. President Donald Trump announced a week ago that he was nominating Harris to become U. S. ambassador to Quotes. The post requires Senate verification.

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