The U.S. policy of trying to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons "is probably a lost cause" and the best that could be hoped for is a cap on the country's nuclear capability, the Director of U.S. National Intelligence James Clapper said on Tuesday.
However, underscoring conflicting views in the Obama administration, the State Department said U.S. policy was unchanged and continued to be to seek the "verifiable denuclearization" of the Korean peninsula.
President Barack Obama has repeatedly stated that the United States will never accept North Korean as a nuclear-armed state.
Clapper made clear at an event at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank in New York he did not think that the policy the administration has stuck to, in spite of repeated North Korean nuclear tests, was realistic.
"I think the notion of getting the North Koreans to denuclearize is probably a lost cause," Clapper said at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank in New York. "They are not going to do that - that is their ticket to survival."
Pyongyang has persisted with its missile and nuclear weapons programs, including a Sept. 9 nuclear explosion, despite strong international sanctions.