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North Korea Must Denuclearize Before Economic Concessions: Bolton

WASHINGTON – In an interview with VOA, Trump’s top advisor John Bolton said that “substantive” talks with DPRK remain on hold Six weeks after the U.S. President and the North Korean leader agreed to resume working-level talks.
US National Security Advisor John Bolton on Wednesday signaled that a phased approach to concessions may not be in the cards.
Speaking to Voice of America (VOA) at the White House, Bolton suggested that Washington remains firm in demanding Pyongyang verifiably denuclearize before receiving economic incentives from the U.S.
The U.S., Bolton said, is “looking for what President Trump called the ‘big deal’” for Kim Jong Un “to make that strategic decision to give up nuclear weapons.”
North Korea would then be expected to “implement it, and then all kinds of things are possible after that,” he added, appearing to imply the U.S. would wait to make a move until a certain point in the implementation process.
Moments earlier, he referenced the ‘economic development pitch’ video President Trump boasted of personally showing Kim during their first summit in Singapore, saying this depicted “what North Korea’s economic future could look like [if] they gave up their nuclear weapons program.”
“The door is open for them to get to that kind of life for the people of North Korea, but they need to walk through it, and they haven’t done that yet.”
It is unclear how, if at all, U.S. security guarantees promised in the Singapore agreement in exchange for Kim’s commitment to “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula” would play into the process Bolton laid out on Wednesday.
But Bolton said that at least in terms of economic benefits, possibly referring to the lifting of sanctions, he does not agree with providing concessions in exchange for phased denuclearization steps due to his belief that North Korea could not be trusted to follow through.
Pyongyang has in the past only made “modest” denuclearization efforts for U.S. economic concessions, Bolton said, and “then once they had used those economic benefits — rescued their economy, stabilized leadership — they would fail to honor their own commitments on the nuclear side.”
“If they think that they can do that again I think they’re making a big mistake.”
The White House, he said, wants a “clear, adequate verification and compliance mechanism,” but that these steps “still remains to be negotiated.”
Bolton also said that the two sides “haven’t had really any substantive negotiations at the working level with North Korea since” the Panmunjom meeting on June 30, but added that his team hopes “those begin again soon.”
North Korea, however, has suggested it is not likely to agree to enter into a process which only yields economic benefits once unilateral denuclearization takes place.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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