Top US general: North Korean activities 'inconsistent' with denuclearization

North Korea’s activities with nuclear warheads and missiles have been “inconsistent” with denuclearization, the general in charge of U.S. troops on the Korean peninsula said Wednesday.

Gen. Robert Abrams, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, made the remark after a question from House Armed Services Committee ranking member Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryPentagon chief denies White House hand in 'war cloud' contract probe U.S. and U.K. divide increases on Iran Republican lawmakers issue dueling letters over Pentagon 'war cloud' contract MORE (R-Texas) on North Korea's actions.

“We know they have not tested, but in the production of nuclear weapons and material and missiles, has there been a change?” Thornberry asked.

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“Their activity that we’ve observed is inconsistent with denuclearization,” Abrams replied.

Abrams declined to elaborate in an unclassified setting, telling the committee he would do so when they reconvened for a classified session this afternoon.

Abrams’s testimony Wednesday was his first since President TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham: America must 'accept the pain that comes in standing up to China' Weld 'thrilled' more Republicans are challenging Trump New data challenges Trump's economic narrative MORE’s Hanoi, Vietnam, summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ended without any agreement.

Trump has said he is in no rush to reach a denuclearization deal with Kim so long as Pyongyang maintains its moratorium on nuclear and missile tests.

But regional experts have said that just because North Korea is no longer visibly testing does not mean it is not progressing its weapons program, and reports in recent months citing commercial satellite imagery say North Korea continues to produce and deploy nuclear-armed missiles.

Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray Coats10 declassified Russia collusion revelations that could rock Washington this fall 11 Essential reads you missed this week Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move MORE similarly told a Senate committee in February that the intelligence community’s assessment that North Korea will not give up its nuclear weapons “is bolstered by observation of some activity that is inconsistent with full denuclearization."

Since the Hamoi summit, North Korea has rebuilt a satellite launch site that Kim had promised Trump he would dismantle at their first summit in Singapore. Experts have debated whether the move means Pyongyang is preparing for a rocket launch or is trying to use coercive diplomacy.

On Wednesday, Abrams reiterated what he told the Senate Armed Services Committee in February that there has been “little to no verifiable change” in North Korea’s military capabilities despite diplomacy with Trump and South Korea.

Randall Schriver, the assistant secretary of Defense in charge of Asia policy, also told the House committee Wednesday that “we have not seen any progress to speak of” on denuclearization

Still, Abrams also made clear, as he did to the Senate, that the diplomacy has resulted in a dramatic drop in tensions on the peninsula.

"Ongoing diplomatic engagement between South Korea, North Korea and the United States has led to a significant reduction in tension compared to the recent past marked by missile launches and nuclear tests," he said. "While diplomacy is not without its challenges, it remains the mechanism underpinning the transformation we have witnessed over the past 14 months as we have moved from provocation to detente."