WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States has a plan that would lead to the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs in a year, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said Sunday, although U.S. intelligence reported signs that Pyongyang doesn’t intend to fully give up its arsenal.
John Bolton said top U.S. diplomat Mike Pompeo will be discussing that plan with North Korea in the near future. Bolton added that it would be to the North’s advantage to cooperate to see sanctions lifted quickly and aid from South Korea and Japan start to flow.
Bolton’s remarks on CBS’ “Face the Nation” appeared to be the first time the Trump administration had publicly suggested a timeline for North Korea to fulfill the commitment leader Kim Jong Un made at a summit with President Donald Trump last month for the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula.
Despite Trump’s rosy post-summit declaration that the North no longer poses a nuclear threat, Washington and Pyongyang have yet to negotiate the terms under which it would relinquish the weapons that it developed over decades to deter the U.S.
Doubts over North Korea’s intentions have deepened amid reports that it is continuing to produce fissile material for weapons.
The Washington Post on Saturday cited unnamed U.S. intelligence officials as concluding that North Korea does not intend to fully surrender its nuclear stockpile. Evidence collected since the June 12 summit in Singapore points to preparations to deceive the U.S. about the number of nuclear warheads in North Korea’s arsenal as well as the existence of undisclosed facilities used to make fissile material for nuclear bombs, according to the report.
It said the findings support a new, previously undisclosed Defense Intelligence Agency estimate that North Korea is unlikely to denuclearize. Some aspects of the new intelligence were reported Friday by NBC News.
A U.S. official told The Associated Press that the Post’s report was accurate and that the assessment reflected the consistent view across U.S. government agencies for the past several weeks. The official was not authorized to comment publicly on the matter and requested anonymity.
Bolton on Sunday declined to comment on intelligence matters....He said the administration was well aware of North Korea’s track record over the decades in dragging out negotiations with the U.S. to continue weapons development.“We have developed a program. I’m sure that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be discussing this with the North Koreans in the near future about really how to dismantle all of their WMD and ballistic missile programs in a year,” Bolton said. “If they have the strategic decision already made to do that, and they’re cooperative, we can move very quickly,” he added.He said the one-year program the U.S. is proposing would cover all of the North’s chemical and biological weapons, nuclear programs and ballistic missiles.Even if North Korea is willing to cooperate, dismantling its secretive weapons of mass destruction programs, believed to