US Intelligence Officials Call North Korean Leader ‘Very Rational Actor’

Despite Kim Jong Un’s repeated provocations and willingness to engage in heated rhetoric, top U.S. intelligence officials say the North Korean leader is not crazy.

 The deputy assistant director of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Korea Mission Center said Wednesday;”Kim Jong Un is a very rational actor.”

“Bluster and rhetoric aside, Kim Jong Un has no desire to go toe to toe with [U.S. and South Korea’s] combined forces command,” Yong Suk Lee said at a CIA-sponsored intelligence conference in Washington.

“Kim Jong Un wants what all authoritarian rulers want … to rule for a long time and die peacefully in his own bed,” Lee said.

US Intelligence Officials Call North Korean Leader 'Very Rational Actor'

The intelligence assessment would appear to run counter to the rhetoric being used by U.S. President Donald Trump. In a series of tweets, Trump has referred to the North Korean leader as “Little Rocket Man,” and, in one tweet last month, said Kim Jong Un was “obviously a madman.”

Lee and other CIA officials, however, believe there has been a “clarity of purpose” to the way the North Korean ruler is acting on the world stage.

Pyongyang’s goal, they say, is to gain recognition as a major nuclear power and eventually negotiate a deal with the United States that sees American forces leave the Korean peninsula.

Intelligence officials see North Korea’s repeated nuclear and missile tests as a way to create some space and give Pyongyang room to maneuver as it pursues its goals on the peninsula.

“He wants to keep us out of his sandbox,” Lee said, predicting another test or provocation could be coming as soon as October 9, which marks the founding of the country’s ruling political party, as well as the Columbus Day holiday in the U.S.

Lee and other CIA officials, however, believe there has been a “clarity of purpose” to the way the North Korean ruler is acting on the world stage.

Pyongyang’s goal, they say, is to gain recognition as a major nuclear power and eventually negotiate a deal with the United States that sees American forces leave the Korean peninsula.

Intelligence officials see North Korea’s repeated nuclear and missile tests as a way to create some space and give Pyongyang room to maneuver as it pursues its goals on the peninsula.

 Lee said “he wants to keep us out of his sandbox,” predicting another test or provocation could be coming as soon as October 9, which marks the founding of the country’s ruling political party, as well as the Columbus Day holiday in the U.S.

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