Bolton says North Korea still seeks nu­clear weapons

The Korea Times - - NATIONAL -

WASH­ING­TON (AFP) — John Bolton warned Mon­day that North Korea had not truly cho­sen to give up nu­clear weapons in the hawk’s first pub­lic ap­pear­ance since he left as Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser.

At a think-tank con­fer­ence on North Korea, Bolton said he could now “speak in un­var­nished terms” about the “grave threat” posed by the regime of Kim Jong-un, who has courted Trump.

“It seems to be clear that the DPRK has not made a strate­gic de­ci­sion to give up its nu­clear weapons,” Bolton said, ref­er­enc­ing the North’s of­fi­cial name.

“In fact, I think the con­trary is true. I think the strate­gic de­ci­sion that Kim Jong-un is op­er­at­ing through is that he will do what­ever he can to keep a de­liv­er­able nu­clear weapons ca­pa­bil­ity and to de­velop and en­hance it fur­ther,” Bolton said at the Cen­ter for Strate­gic and In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies.

“These are the ques­tions that need to fo­cus our at­ten­tion — not can we get an­other sum­mit with Kim Jong-un.”

His com­ments are at odds with Trump’s rosy de­pic­tions of Kim af­ter three meet­ings, with the U.S. leader hail­ing the young strong­man’s “beau­ti­ful let­ters” and in­sist­ing that Kim would stay true to his word.

Bolton has long been known for his strong op­po­si­tion to North Korea, which once, be­fore he served with Trump, de­nounced him as “hu­man scum.”

When they parted ways, Trump pointed to a com­ment by Bolton — how he fa­vored a “Libyan model” for North Korea — as an ex­am­ple of his top aide “be­ing not smart.”

In 2003 as the United States was in­vad­ing Iraq, Libyan dic­ta­tor Muam­mar Qaddafi ne­go­ti­ated an end to its nu­clear pro­gram in re­turn for rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with the West.

But Western pow­ers in 2011 backed an up­ris­ing against Qaddafi, who was later found in a drainage pipe, tor­tured and lynched.

Bolton on Mon­day stood by his re­marks, say­ing the “Libyan model” re­ferred to a strate­gic de­ci­sion to give up nu­clear weapons.

“We saw Muam­mar Qaddafi make an un­am­bigu­ous de­ci­sion that he and Libya would be bet­ter off with­out de­vel­op­ing nu­clear weapons,” said Bolton, an ar­chi­tect of the Iraq war.

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