CLOSINGS: View Closings

Trump team praises brutal North Korean leader

President Donald Trump changes tone on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. CNN's Brian Todd reports.

Posted: May 24, 2018 11:41 AM
Updated: May 24, 2018 11:52 AM

With the proposed June 12 summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the balance, the Pentagon has made public a damning assessment of Kim's regime that concludes its primary function is to ensure "perpetual Kim family rule" at the expense of the well-being of the North Korean people.

The report differs from Trump's public assessment of Kim. Last year the President dubbed him "Little Rocket Man" but in recent weaks he has been effusive in his praise for the North Korean leader, calling him "very open and I think very honorable." The report also makes clear the obstacles Trump faces in convincing Kim to give up his nuclear weapons program, which Kim sees as key to maintaining his grip on power.

The Pentagon study on military and security developments in North Korea is mandated by Congress, and the latest version was completed before Trump agreed to meet with Kim. Nonetheless it provides the latest detailed public assessment from the Trump administration of Kim's weapons program and his potential motivations for maintaining power in advance of a potential summit.

The assessment concludes that Kim's regime "seeks to maintain control over a populace that is decreasingly reliant on it. ... North Korea's primary strategic goal is a perpetual Kim family rule via the simultaneous development of its economy and nuclear weapons program."

The Pentagon says the Kim regime "no longer provides basic goods and services outside the capital and major cities," and relies on ideological intimidation to maintain order.

The report underscores the intelligence community's long-held view that Kim is primarily motivated by a desire to remain in power. "Eliminating perceived threats to the Kim family regime and a belief that North Korea it entitled to respect as a world power are the primary drivers of North Korea's security strategy," it says.

Regardless of Kim's current motivations for engaging in talks with the US, several defense officials tell CNN that the US military and intelligence community will keep collecting intelligence on the regime by continuing to use satellites to monitor weapons sites, flying aircraft near North Korean airspace to gather electronic intercepts and cooperating with US-backed operatives to gather whatever information it can on Kim and his close advisers.

"We cannot afford to stop," one defense official said about the need to continue watching for any strategic moves by North Korea that could indicate further development or testing of its missiles and nuclear warheads.

In one of the clearest examples of the US military and intelligence posture, even as North Korea this week makes a public display of shutting down its underground nuclear test site, US satellites are continuing to monitor to see if any new test sites may be emerging, one official with direct knowledge of the effort told CNN.

The intelligence community also continues to calculate how much time and equipment North Korea would need if it decides to launch a missile or conduct any other type of nuclear test. The last missile launch took place last year.

The Pentagon report also documents North Korea's cyber weapons efforts as well as its chemical and biological weapons program, which the US believes remains intact. It also notes that North Korea maintains a massive conventional weapons program. That arsenal is not part of the discussions with the Kim regime.

North Korea maintains significant artillery forces along the Demilitarized Zone that pose a direct threat to Seoul. In 2016 North Korea tested a new "close-range ballistic missile" called the KN-SS-X-9, which would give it the ability to reach as far as US Garrison Humphreys, the current location of the US 8th Army headquarters, about 40 miles south of Seoul.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 289303

Reported Deaths: 3434
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin616511100
Ramsey25903487
Anoka20522218
Dakota20096183
Washington13066109
Stearns1291098
St. Louis7935101
Scott782754
Wright702436
Olmsted626134
Sherburne538640
Clay463856
Carver432213
Blue Earth387112
Rice386033
Kandiyohi373819
Crow Wing334631
Nobles298729
Chisago29358
Otter Tail282818
Benton278642
Winona258128
Mower241323
Douglas237631
Polk234423
Morrison219524
Lyon201911
McLeod195610
Beltrami194615
Becker187512
Goodhue185727
Steele17826
Itasca176124
Isanti174316
Todd171612
Carlton165710
Nicollet150823
Freeborn14465
Mille Lacs141630
Le Sueur138110
Waseca134011
Cass12849
Brown125011
Pine12458
Meeker11308
Roseau10503
Hubbard103822
Martin101920
Wabasha9611
Redwood83718
Dodge8060
Chippewa8057
Watonwan7984
Cottonwood7682
Renville75119
Sibley7414
Wadena7376
Aitkin69826
Rock6829
Pipestone67818
Houston6422
Fillmore6320
Yellow Medicine59311
Pennington5856
Kanabec54912
Murray5493
Swift5366
Faribault5081
Pope4990
Stevens4643
Clearwater4536
Marshall4438
Jackson4361
Unassigned38759
Lake3816
Koochiching3535
Wilkin3465
Lac qui Parle3383
Norman3227
Lincoln3171
Big Stone2841
Mahnomen2704
Grant2516
Red Lake2033
Kittson1917
Traverse1360
Lake of the Woods931
Cook600

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 222064

Reported Deaths: 2319
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33019331
Linn13877164
Scott1085683
Black Hawk10730134
Woodbury10159121
Johnson935536
Dubuque907691
Story669721
Dallas624657
Pottawattamie612469
Sioux364625
Webster353033
Marshall343545
Cerro Gordo342644
Clinton319839
Buena Vista300014
Des Moines281719
Muscatine280968
Warren274011
Plymouth268941
Wapello251171
Jones227913
Jasper212443
Marion201719
Lee197916
Carroll195422
Bremer191312
Henry18037
Crawford173015
Benton166217
Tama152240
Jackson142113
Delaware140221
Washington137414
Dickinson134210
Boone134011
Mahaska125327
Wright12156
Buchanan115010
Clay11314
Hardin113010
Page11134
Hamilton10809
Clayton10715
Harrison106129
Cedar104913
Calhoun10487
Kossuth10236
Floyd102216
Mills10177
Fayette10159
Lyon10058
Poweshiek97913
Butler9746
Winneshiek95412
Iowa92312
Winnebago90223
Hancock8497
Louisa83916
Grundy83811
Chickasaw8354
Sac8297
Cherokee8134
Cass79721
Appanoose77310
Mitchell7704
Allamakee76811
Union7546
Humboldt7525
Shelby75010
Emmet74724
Guthrie73715
Franklin72921
Jefferson6852
Madison6734
Palo Alto6454
Unassigned6320
Keokuk5737
Pocahontas5532
Howard5419
Greene5160
Osceola5131
Clarke4774
Ida46813
Taylor4563
Davis4508
Montgomery44911
Monroe43712
Adair4298
Monona4212
Fremont3543
Van Buren3525
Worth3520
Lucas3216
Decatur3150
Wayne2957
Audubon2942
Ringgold2022
Adams1642
Rochester
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 19°
Mason City
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 21°
Albert Lea
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 22°
Austin
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 20°
Charles City
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 22°
Sunshine Returns for Friday
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events