Foreign Policy

Trump Understands U.S.-North Korea History

John Bolton puts to bed any suggestion that North Korea can pull the wool over Trump's eyes.

National Security Desk · Jul. 5, 2018

Is President Donald Trump’s work to see North Korea denuclearize a lost cause? Recent media reports would seem to suggest just that. NBC News reported that North Korea, contrary to its declared desire to seek peace and a denuclearized Korean peninsula, has continued to enrich nuclear bomb fuel. Citing unnamed U.S. officials, NBC reported, “U.S. intelligence agencies believe that North Korea has increased its production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites in recent months — and that Kim Jong Un may try to hide those facilities as he seeks more concessions in nuclear talks with the Trump administration.”

Another unnamed U.S. official said, “There’s no evidence that they are decreasing stockpiles, or that they have stopped their production. There is absolutely unequivocal evidence that they are trying to deceive the U.S.”

These recent media reports clearly insinuate that the Trump administration is being played by yet another North Korean dictator, continuing a pattern that is all too familiar. National Security Advisor John Bolton was questioned on CBS’s “Face the Nation” over these reports, and he responded, “We’re very well aware of North Korea’s patterns of behavior over decades of negotiating with the United States. We know exactly what the risks are of them using negotiations to drag out the length of time they have to continue their nuclear, chemical, biological weapons programs and ballistic missiles.” Bolton then added, “But rather than have a series of reports — things are going better, things are not going well, they are concealing this, they’re not concealing that — really, it doesn’t serve the purpose of advancing the negotiations.” He then emphasized, “But there’s not any starry-eyed feeling among the group doing this. We’re well, well, well aware of what the North Koreans have done in the past.”

If anyone knows about North Korea and its history of bad-faith negotiations its Bolton. He has for years been ringing the alarm bells regarding North Korea’s weapons development. There is little to worry that Trump would somehow have the wool pulled over his eyes by Kim Jong-un. And as we have previously stated, there is still a long way to go before any denuclearization deal gets done — or if it gets done.

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