US national security adviser John Bolton said on Sunday that US President Donald Trump hoped to resolve the North Korean situation through negotiations, but warned Pyongyang against resuming weapons development.
Speaking in an interview with a New York-based station on Sunday (US time), Bolton said Trump was committed to dialogue.
“President Trump wants to see this threat resolved through negotiations,” Bolton said.
“He’s made a number of proposals to Kim Jong-un, it hasn’t worked out yet, but the president still is willing to try and do it. He wants North Korea to be free of nuclear weapons, that’s for sure.”
Bolton also reiterated that the North was responsible for the lack of results at the end of the summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi in February.
“The North Koreans really, unfortunately, were not willing to do what they needed to do,” Bolton said.
He also warned Pyongyang against resuming weapons testing, calling a recent statement from North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui “unhelpful” and saying that resuming tests would “not be a good idea on their part.”
Bolton was referring to Choe’s statement on Friday indicating that North Korea had no intention of giving in to pressure from the US and that the North might resume nuclear weapons and missile tests.
The North Korean diplomat also blamed Bolton and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for making uncompromising demands, but emphasized the relationship between Kim and Trump, describing it as “magically” good.
While uncertainties hang over US-North Korea relations and denuclearization talks, Seoul’s presidential office remains hopeful.
“Both the US and North Korea clearly state the intentions to continue diplomacy and negotiations,” a high-level Cheong Wa Dae official said on Sunday, quoting US special representative on North Korea Stephen Biegun as saying “diplomacy is very much alive.”
“We think that both the US and the North have moved too far forward to go back to the past, that going back to the past is difficult,” he said.
Even regarding the Hanoi summit, the official said there had been major positive developments and that the two sides had probably gained an understanding of how to go about resolving the matter.
He went on to say Seoul needed to take actions that would amplify positive elements, such as easing military tension on the Korean Peninsula.
He also hinted that now that the second US-North Korea summit has taken place, it may be time for inter-Korean dialogue.
While saying Seoul and Washington shared the view that “no deal is better than a bad deal,” the official also said there was a need to review what he called an “all-or-nothing” strategy.
“We think that there needs to be effort to turn a small deal into a ‘good enough deal,’ and for meaningful advancement toward denuclearization, there needs to be one or two consecutive ‘early harvest,’” he said, hinting that a series of small deals satisfactory to all parties would be required to achieve denuclearization.
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com