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NK remains a threat, CIA director says

Posted February. 08, 2001 21:11,   


George Tenet, director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), said Wednesday that North Korea shows no sign of becoming a lower threat to South Korean and U.S. interests, although ¡°Pyongyang¡¯s bold diplomatic outreach to the international community and engagement with South Korea reflected a significant change in strategy.¡±

Tenet made the point in his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, saying, ¡°While Allied forces still have the qualitative edge, the North Korean military appears for now to have halted its near-decade-long slide in military capabilities.¡±

In an annual report on the global threats to U.S. security, the CIA director said that North Korea still puts the United States and its allies at great risk despite its bold diplomatic outreach and changes in South Korea¡¯s strategies on the North.

He said North Korea maintains the world¡¯s fifth largest armed forces consisting of over 1 million active-duty personnel, with 5 million reserves, and also is expanding its short- and medium-range missile inventory and exporting military technical expertise.

¡°We do not know how far Kim Jong-Il will go in opening the North, but I can report to you that we have not yet seen a significant diminution of the threat from the North to American and South Korean interests,¡± Tenet said.

He also said that Pyongyang¡¯s new strategy is ¡°designed to assure the continued survival of Kim Jong-Il¡¯s regime by ending its political isolation and fixing the failing economy by attracting more aid.

¡°Aid and investment from the South bring with them increased foreign influences and outside information that will contradict propaganda from the regime,¡± he added.