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 ThornberryOvernight Defense: Pompeo blames Iran for oil tanker attacks | House panel approves 3B defense bill | Trump shares designs for red, white and blue Air Force One House panel approves 3B defense policy bill House panel approves 3B defense policy bill 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 TrumpDC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' DC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' Mexico's immigration chief resigns amid US pressure over migrants 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 CoatsHillicon Valley: Tim Cook visits White House | House hearing grapples with deepfake threat | Bill, Melinda Gates launch lobbying group | Tech turns to K-Street in antitrust fight | Lawsuit poses major threat to T-Mobile, Sprint merger Hillicon Valley: Tim Cook visits White House | House hearing grapples with deepfake threat | Bill, Melinda Gates launch lobbying group | Tech turns to K-Street in antitrust fight | Lawsuit poses major threat to T-Mobile, Sprint merger House Intel to take first major deep dive into threat of 'deepfakes' 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."