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US isn’t ‘starry-eyed’ on ending North Korean nuclear program, Bolton says

John Bolton (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
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The U.S. isn’t being naive in taking North Korea at its word on denuclearization, national security adviser John Bolton said Sunday.

“There’s no one in this administration starry-eyed about” the idea that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s regime will rid itself of nuclear weapons capability, Bolton said on “Fox News Sunday.” Still, the time may well come when Trump concludes that Kim isn’t acting in good faith, he said.

Trump is giving a “master class” in how to hold the door open to Pyongyang, Bolton said. If Kim can’t figure how to walk through it, “even the president’s fiercest critics won’t be able to say he didn’t open it wide enough.”

Bolton’s comments followed Secretary of State Michael Pompeo’s warning on Saturday that other nations must not ease sanctions on North Korea until that county gives up its nuclear weapons. Pompeo called out Russia and China for violating United Nations Security Council resolutions restricting trade with North Korea.

In response, North Korea accused the U.S. of demanding too much without offering anything in return. “Advancing unilateral demands will further deepen mistrust instead of reviving trust,” North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said in a statement.

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Trump met with Kim in Singapore in June, saying after that the country “is no longer a nuclear threat.”

Since then, the White House has sought to show that North Korea is moving toward giving up its nuclear weapons despite news reports to the contrary. The mixed messages have undermined U.S. attempts to pressure North Korea, which hasn’t committed to a schedule for giving up its weapons.

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© 2018 Bloomberg News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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