Tags: North Korea | Trump Administration | nsa | johnbolton | kimjongun | denuclearization

NSA Bolton: 'We Don't Have Any Illusions' on North Korea

john bolton speaks to reporters in the white house briefing room and adjusts his glasses
National Security Adviser John Bolton (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 10 March 2019 10:50 AM

Amid reports from "commercial" satellite images North Korea is rebuilding nuclear weapons testing sites and planning to test a ballistic missile, National Security Adviser John Bolton demurred the knowledge of "experts and pundits" is more advanced than that of the U.S. government.

The U.S. knows the score, knows the "mistakes of prior administrations" with North Korea, is working to make real progress, and finally, "the leverage is on our side right now," Bolton told ABC's "This Week."

"The president has been very clear he is not going to make the mistakes of prior administrations, and one of the mistakes of prior administrations was assuming the North Koreans would automatically comply when they undertake obligations," Bolton told host Martha Raddatz. "The North Koreans, for example, have pledged to give up their nuclear weapons program at least five separate times, beginning in 1992 with the joint North-South Denuclearization Agreement. They never seem to get around to it, though, so that's one reason why we pay particular attention to what North Korea is doing all the time.

"We see exactly what they're doing now. We see it unblinkingly, and we don't have any illusions about what their capabilities are."

Another test of a ballistic missile would be a deal-breaker from what President Donald Trump and North Korea Chairman Kim Jong Un have established in two prior summits – firsts for American leadership amid years of denuclearization efforts.

"As the president said, he'd be pretty disappointed if Kim Jong Un went ahead and did something like that," Bolton said of a feared missile test after a year of none. "The president said repeatedly he feels the absence of nuclear tests, the absence of ballistic missile launches is a positive sign, and he's used that really as a part of his effort to persuade Kim Jong Un that he has to go for what the president called 'The Big Deal: Complete Denuclearization.'"

The fact President has to walk away from the most recent summit with Kim should not be a cause for alarm, nor surprising, Bolton added.

"Nothing in the proliferation game surprises me anymore," he said. "I think Kim Jong Un has a very clear idea where the president stands, what the objectives the president is trying to achieve are.

"It's why the decision to walk away in a friendly way, as the president put it, from the Hanoi Summit was important for Kim Jong Un to understand the president – despite what a lot of the experts and pundits say – is not under pressure to make any deal.

"He wants to make the right deal, and he described it to Kim Jong Un at the Hanoi meeting."

Bolton concluded President Trump has worked to gain leverage on the long failed hope of North Korean denuclearization.

"The historical lesson is time is inevitably on the side of the proliferator in the long run," he said. "Right now I think it's the president's judgment, and I think it's correct, that the economic leverage that we have because of the sanctions puts the pressure on North Korea.

"Now it's one reason why all of the pundits and all of the experts predicting a deal in Hanoi were wrong, because the leverage is on our side right now, not on North Korea's."

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Amid reports from "commercial" satellite images North Korea is rebuilding nuclear weapons testing sites and planning to test a ballistic missile, National Security Adviser John Bolton demurred the knowledge of "experts and pundits" is more advanced than that of the U.S....
nsa, johnbolton, kimjongun, denuclearization
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2019-50-10
Sunday, 10 March 2019 10:50 AM
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