WASHINGTON — The senior U.S. Navy officer overseeing military operations in the Pacific says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s long-term goal is to reunify the divided Korean Peninsula under his totalitarian regime.
Adm. Harry Harris Jr. tells the House Armed Services Committee there’s a prevailing view that Kim needs a nuclear arsenal to safeguard his regime. But Harris says Kim is after much more.
He says Kim’s “long view” is reunification under “a single Communist system.”
Harris says any future talks with North Korea must be focused on ridding the peninsula of nuclear weapons.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is seeking to nominate Adm. Phil Davidson to be the top U.S. military officer in the Pacific, according to three defense officials who spoke on background.
Harris has been in uniform for nearly four decades. He’s led U.S. Pacific Command since May 2015 and last week Trump announced he was nominating Harris to be U.S. ambassador to Australia. The post requires Senate confirmation.