John Bolton says North Korea has not taken steps to denuclearise
Bolton also revealed that US President Donald Trump has proposed another meeting between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kim Jong-un
White House National Security adviser John Bolton said on Tuesday that North Korea has not made progress toward denuclearisation, in a dismal acknowledgement that comes nearly two months after US President Donald Trump held a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore.
“The United States has lived up to the Singapore declaration. It’s just North Korea that has not taken the steps we feel are necessary to denuclearise,” Bolton said in an interview on Fox News Channel on Tuesday morning.
He added that the United States will continue to apply pressure until Pyongyang produces results.
“The idea that we’re going to relax the sanctions just on North Korea’s say-so, I think, is something that just isn’t under consideration,” Bolton said. “We’re going to continue to apply maximum pressure to North Korea until they denuclearise, just as we are to Iran.”
The Trump administration has consistently sought to reassure critics that Kim will make good on his pledges to denuclearise.
Last month, Trump tweeted that he had “confidence that Kim Jong-un will honour the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake” in Singapore.
Yet the most tangible result of the June 12 summit so far has been last week’s handover by North Korea of the remains of more than 50 service members killed in the Korean war.
The question of denuclearisation remains a separate one, Defence Secretary James Mattis has said, and US and North Korean diplomats traded jabs on the issue at last weekend’s annual conference of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
At that conference, which also took place in Singapore, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo handed to North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho a letter from Trump to Kim.
Bolton revealed on Tuesday that the letter contained a proposal from Trump for Pompeo to make another visit to North Korea to meet with Kim.
“Secretary of State Pompeo is prepared to go back to North Korea to meet with Kim Jong-un. We’ve proposed that in our most recent letter from the president to Kim Jong-un,” Bolton said.
“The president’s prepared to meet at any point,” he added. “But what we really need is not more rhetoric. What we need is performance from North Korea on denuclearisation.”