- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 26, 2019

North Korea and the United States have very different ideas of what an end to the North’s nuclear programs would look like, former Gov. Bill Richardson, who has dealt directly with Pyongyang in the past, told a Capitol Hill committee Tuesday.

“We have a different perspective of what denuclearization is,” Mr. Richardson told House Foreign Affairs Committee, who spoke as President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un were preparing for this week’s second summit on the Korean peninsula crisis in Hanoi, Vietnam.

“We think that denuclearization is dismantling, destroying, ending — whatever — the 40 nuclear weapons, the [weapons of mass destruction]. The North Koreans don’t believe in that definition,” Mr. Richardson added.

The Democratic former New Mexico governor was facing questions from Rep. Ted Yoho, ranking member of the subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.

Mr. Yoho, Florida Republican, told Fox News on Monday that “if we can’t have that definition that all sides agree, I don’t see how you can go further.”

In his second meeting with Mr. Kim, President Trump is seeking to pin the North Korean leader down on the precise steps he’s willing to take to dismantle his weapons program.

During last year’s summit in Singapore, Mr. Kim committed to “work towards complete denuclearization on the Korean peninsula,” but has since shown little proof of such progress.

“They want to keep their weapons,” Mr. Richardson explained. “Now, so far they have dismantled nothing.”

Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim begin two days of talks on Wednesday.

• Lauren Toms can be reached at lmeier@washingtontimes.com.

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