U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), made the following statement after South Korean National Security Advisor, Chung Eui-Yong announced Kim Jong Un will refrain from future missile testing and is ‘eager’ to discuss denuclearization with the United States.
“Tonight makes it clear that President Trump’s tough talk, campaign of maximum pressure and aggressive sanctions are working against North Korea. Kim Jong Un’s willingness to refrain from future missile and nuclear testing and come to the table to talk about denuclearization, even during the annual U.S.-South Korea military drills, is a tangible first step. The United States has always said that any talks with North Korea would have to include their complete, irreversible and verifiable denuclearization. I am pleased that both South Korea and Japan share that commitment and am hopeful that the talks reveal this outcome.”
Earlier this week, Inhofe, who recently visited South Korea, correctly predicted that North Korea was serious about their willingness to discuss denuclearization during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing and on Fox Business:
INHOFE: …I mean, look what's happening right now in North Korea, I believe all of that started when he made the strong statement to Kim Jong-un that he had a bigger button, he could fire and wipe North Korea off the map. And all of a sudden, Un started talking to South Korea and saying we’ll come to the Winter Games and all of that. We were over there during that time.
… We had a hearing yesterday, Maria, that you probably didn't see but I chaired the hearing, it's Armed Services. We had all of the intelligence people in there, none of them believed that this guy is going to change, that he really wants to negotiate…
During Tuesday’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Sen. Inhofe questioned Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency:
INHOFE: There's no reason to believe that Kim Jong-un is going to be a changed person. But I think the news last night that he's actually made a response to the message that was sent and that he's ready to negotiate, he's ready to stop his nuclear activity and testing. Do you share my somewhat optimistic view of what happened, General?
ASHLEY: Senator, right now, I don't share your optimism. That's kind of a show-me, and so we'll see how this plays out…