Bolton still waiting for a sign North is seriousWASHINGTON - U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said Wednesday that the United States needs to see a “real indication” that North Korea is ready to give up its nuclear weapons before any third summit between their leaders.
In an interview with Bloomberg News, Bolton was asked what the United States would need to see ahead of a third meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
“I think a real indication from North Korea that they’ve made the strategic decision to give up nuclear weapons,” he said.
Trump and Kim’s summits - in Singapore last June and in Vietnam in February - have so far yielded little progress in dismantling the North’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs despite their commitment to pursue complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
In return, Trump has promised unspecified security guarantees for Pyongyang. Asked whether there was any progress toward denuclearization, Bolton said, “I wouldn’t say we could say that at this point.”
“The president is fully prepared to have a third summit if he can get a real deal,” he also said.
Both sides have left open the door to dialogue since the second summit in Hanoi ended without a deal due to differences over the scope of North Korea’s denuclearization and sanctions relief from the United States.
In a speech to the North’s parliament last week, Kim said he would be willing to hold a third summit if the United States came with the “right attitude” and “right methodology.”
Trump tweeted in response that he agreed that a third summit “would be good in that we fully understand where we each stand.”
South Korean President Moon Jae-in was in Washington last week to meet with Trump and discuss ways to bridge the gap between the United States and the North.
Upon returning to Seoul, Moon said he will seek a fourth summit with Kim without being restrained by its location or format. Bolton said the United States has tried to stay “very close” to South Korea.
“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, referring to a package deal under which the North would give up all of its weapons of mass destruction capabilities in return for economic concessions.