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Bolton: North Korea 'more dangerous now'

Bolton: North Korea 'more dangerous now'
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Former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonPressure grows from GOP for Trump to recognize Biden election win Sunday shows - Virus surge dominates ahead of fraught Thanksgiving holiday Bolton calls on GOP leadership to label Trump's behavior 'inexcusable' MORE ripped the Trump administration's diplomatic efforts aimed at North Korea, claiming on Wednesday that they had "failed" to make the Korean Peninsula safer.

In an interview with CNBC, Bolton trashed President TrumpDonald John TrumpVenezuela judge orders prison time for 6 American oil executives Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE's months-long diplomatic courtship of Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnWill Biden choose a values-based or transactional foreign policy? Japan's role could redefine Asia-Pacific relations under Biden and Suga Biden leans on foreign policy establishment to build team MORE. Trump became the first U.S. president to visit North Korea at the Demilitarized Zone, but the outreach has not resulted in a major denuclearization deal.

“The fact is that we wasted a lot of time with Trump’s failed diplomacy with North Korea,” Bolton said on "Squawk Box Asia."

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“Rogue states need time to perfect their nuclear capabilities, their ballistic missile capabilities. That’s what Kim Jong Un was doing,” he continued, adding: “So, I do think it’s more dangerous now because of the progress that North Korea has made."

White House officials did not immediately return a request for comment on Bolton's remarks. The former national security adviser was known for his hawkish positions on North Korea, Iran and other countries during his White House tenure, and has clashed publicly with the president on foreign policy issues since leaving the administration.

In December, he told Axios's Jonathan Swan that he doesn't believe Trump "really means it" when it comes to securing an end to North Korea's nuclear weapons program, calling the administration's assertion that it was exerting "maximum pressure" on North Korea's government a falsehood.

"The idea that we are somehow exerting maximum pressure on North Korea is just unfortunately not true," Bolton said late last year.

"We're now nearly three years into the administration with no visible progress toward getting North Korea to make the strategic decision to stop pursuing deliverable nuclear weapons," he continued at the time.

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The president has frequently dismissed criticism from Bolton as that of a disgruntled former employee. The Justice Department sought to block publication of the former adviser's latest book earlier this year on the grounds that it contained classified material, a characterization Bolton disputed. Trump himself argued that the book should not be published, and speculated during a Cabinet meeting attended by members of the news media that it would contain "classified" information, though he had not read it.

“If he wrote a book, I can’t imagine that he can because that’s highly classified information,” Trump said in June.

“I will consider every conversation with me as president highly classified. So that would mean if he wrote a book and if the book gets out, he’s broken the law and I would think he would have criminal problems,” the president added to reporters.

Bolton's attorney fired back at the White House in a column for The Wall Street Journal, accusing the White House of using national security as a “pretext” to censor the book “in violation of [Bolton's] constitutional right to speak on matters of the utmost public import."

Bolton's book, "The Room Where It Happened," was released in June. It portrays Trump as "stunningly uninformed."