By Jon Dougherty
Following this month’s summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, which ended without an agreement on denuclearization or the lifting of Western sanctions against Pyongyang, reports surfaced in North Korean media suggesting that a dissatisfied Kim may restart his missile programs, which would include tests.
That wouldn’t be constructive nor a good idea, National Security Adviser John Bolton warned on Sunday.
“They issued an unhelpful statement saying they were thinking of going back to nuclear and ballistic missile testing, which would not be a good idea on their part,” Bolton said in an interview with John Catsimatidis, a New York-based radio host, on AM 970.
Following the breakdown in talks last month which saw the president walk away in Hanoi ahead of a planned joint announcement on a deal, the North Koreans blamed Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, not Trump — which was notable.
Pyongyang’s diplomats claimed that Bolton and Pompeo’s ‘unreasonable’ demands cratered the deal, saying they took a hard line in refusing to lift sanctions in exchange for North Korea’s pledge to dismantle its nuclear facility at Yongbyon, one of its oldest facilities.
Bolton, however, insisted it was North Korea that sunk the deal.
“The North Koreans really, unfortunately, were not willing to do what they needed to do,” Bolton said. “President Trump wants to see this threat resolved through negotiation,” he added.
“He’s made a number of proposals to Kim Jong Un. … It hasn’t worked out yet, but the president still is willing to try and do it. He wants North Korea to be free of nuclear weapons, that’s for sure,” he added.
Pompeo said Friday that Kim told Trump in Hanoi that he would not restart his missile testing.
There’s been no word when, or if, a third summit is in the offing. But North Korean denuclearization remains a foreign policy priority for the Trump administration.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10