Bolton: North Korea 'not willing to do what they needed to do' for nuclear deal

Bolton: North Korea 'not willing to do what they needed to do' for nuclear deal
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National security adviser John Bolton hammered North Korea in an interview broadcast Sunday, saying North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was unwilling to take the necessary steps to reach a nuclear deal with the U.S.

“The North Koreans were unfortunately not willing to do what they needed to do. Just last night, they issued an unhelpful statement that they’re thinking of going back to nuclear and ballistic missile testing, which would not be a good idea on their part,” Bolton told radio host John Catsimatidis on AM 970 in New York.

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rips Dems' demands, impeachment talk: 'Witch Hunt continues!' Nevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push MORE wants this threat resolved through negotiations,” he added. “He wants North Korea to be free of nuclear weapons.”

Bolton's comments came after North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui asserted Friday that the Trump administration created an "atmosphere of hostility and mistrust" in nuclear negotiations and threatened to resume nuclear and missile tests after refraining from such a move for more than a year.

A second nuclear summit between Kim and President Trump came to an abrupt end in February after the negotiations regarding the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula hit an impasse over sanctions relief.

Bolton opened the door to China, North Korea’s chief ally and trading partner, to help put talks back on track. 

“The idea that there’s a role for China in the negotiations is something that we’d be willing to consider if we could see some movement on North Korea’s part,” he said. 

“The Chinese have said repeatedly they don’t want to see North Korea with nuclear weapons at all because they think it destabilizes North East Asia,” he continued. “In theory, China has the same position we do. What they could do more of is apply more pressure on North Korea. They could apply the U.N. sanctions more tightly. They control 90 percent of North Korea’s external trade, so China could have a very important role here. There’s no question about it.” 

However, Bolton suggested any courting of China to help deal with the North Korean nuclear program could face complications over Beijing’s own nuclear ambitions and Washington’s desire to rein in its existing programs. 

“China is building up its nuclear capacity now. It’s one of the reasons why we’re looking at strengthening our national missile defense system here in the United States. And it’s one reason why if we’re going to have another arms control negotiation, for example, with the Russians, it may make sense to include China in that discussion as well,” he said.