Bolton: North Korea ‘a very ugly piece of baggage’ for China

Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John BoltonJohn BoltonOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right Ex-Trump adviser Bolton defends Milley: 'His patriotism is unquestioned' MORE in an interview aired Sunday called North Korea "a very ugly piece of baggage” for its ally China.

“Younger Chinese leaders understand that North Korea is a very ugly piece of baggage,” Bolton said in an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis on AM 970 in New York.

Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 summit in Germany on Saturday and discussed the "destabilizing threat" posed by North Korea, the White House said.

Bolton argued that because Trump "is wrestling with a narrowing set of attractive options" on North Korea he should try to convince China to allow "the two Koreas to reunite."

The former U.S. diplomat argued that reunification of North Korea and South Korea was necessary in order to resolve the hostility between the two nations.


"I think [reunification] is something we can sell to them. We can promise them that we will not have American troops on their border," Bolton said after expressing doubt that President Trump can get China to pressure North Korea to halt their nuclear program.

He said if reunification is not possible, then the U.S. will "be faced with the very unattractive option of using military force to keep North Korea from getting nuclear weapons."

The former ambassador also said U.S. intelligence on the increasingly hostile state is undependable, saying they did not know about the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test on Tuesday.

"We did not know about the [ICBM] missile until it was launched on the 4th of July," he said. "It is a good example of how bad our intelligence is about North Korea."

"What we don't know is almost certainly bad news for the United States," he added.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said Thursday he doesn't believe North Korea's new ballistic missile capability brings the U.S. "closer to war" but said the U.S. remains ready for any conflict.