U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, who is known to be ultra-hawkish on North Korea, demanded Wednesday that North Korea show additional evidence of its commitment to denuclearization. His remarks have thrown the ball back to the North, which looks forward to seeing changes in U.S. attitude, sparking speculation that the tug-of-war between Washington and Pyongyang could get prolonged.
In an interview with Bloomberg News, Bolton was asked what the United States would need to see ahead of a third summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the adviser said a "real indication" that North Korea is ready to give up its nuclear weapons. Asked whether there was any progress toward the North’s denuclearization, Bolton said, “I wouldn't say we could say that at this point.” But he added, “The president is fully prepared to have a third summit if he can get a real deal.”
Bolton’s remarks about North Korea came for the first time since his March 21 tweet welcoming the U.S. Treasury Department’s sanctions on Pyongyang. Bloomberg reported that Bolton’s remarks “struck a more pessimistic tone than that voiced by other members of the administration -- including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo -- about North Korea’s intentions and the prospects for a deal.”
“President Moon himself is going to be trying to speak with Kim Jong Un, so we’re watching it very closely and we’re ready to talk about what the president calls the big deal,” Bolton said, suggesting Washington would determine the level of its response after seeing denuclearization signals the North sends during the process of inter-Korean dialogue.
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