WASHINGTON    -   U.S. President Donald Trump dismissed assessments by top U.S. spy chiefs of the threat posed by North Korea on Wednesday, offering a more optimistic view that there was a “decent chance of denuclearization” on the Korean Peninsula.

Leaders of the U.S. intelligence community told a Senate panel on Tuesday that the threat from North Korea remained unchanged from a year ago and said Pyongyang viewed its nuclear program as vital to the country’s survival and was unlikely to give it up.

The Republican president has repeatedly clashed with leaders of the U.S. intelligence community, most strikingly in disputing their finding that Russia intervened in the 2016 presidential election to help him win the White House.

Trump has invested heavily in improving relations with Pyongyang in hopes of getting the reclusive communist nation to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

He broke with decades of U.S. policy when he agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last June and planned a second summit in February.

“North Korea relationship is best it has ever been with U.S. No testing, getting remains, hostages returned. Decent chance of Denuclearization,” Trump said in a Twitter post, drawing a comparison to the “horrendous” relationship with his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama.

“Now a whole different story. I look forward to seeing Kim Jong Un shortly. Progress being made-big difference!”

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel, however, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that North Korea was committed to developing a nuclear missile capable of threatening the United States.

North Korea is “unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities because its leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons as critical to regime survival,” Coats said.

A number of North Korea analysts agree. “There is absolutely no reason or sufficient incentives for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. North Korea wants to play Trump and get sanctions off its back,” said Srinivasan Sitaraman, a political science professor at Clark University.

Trump also defended his decision to withdraw 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria on grounds that Islamic State no longer poses a threat, saying “we’ve beaten them.”

“Caliphate will soon be destroyed, unthinkable two years ago,” Trump said on Twitter.

Trump has given the military about four months to withdraw the troops in Syria, backtracking from his abrupt order last month that the military pull out within 30 days.

The U.S. spy chiefs said Islamic State would continue to pursue attacks from Syria and Iraq against regional and Western adversaries, including the United States.

Intelligence committee member Senator Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, said he was disturbed by Trump’s comments.

“It’s still disturbing that the president doesn’t seem to want to listen to the people whose job it is to give him this information,” King told CNN on Wednesday.