North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s regime knows what the United States expects of it, National Security Adviser John Bolton said Monday, but he does not think President Donald Trump is “starry-eyed” about North Korea and its promises.
“I don’t think he is starry eyed, either,” Bolton told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”
“We have tried in every way we can. I think we’re doing the maximum sales job we can to say the door is open, the opportunity is clear, everybody is waiting for the north Koreans to start moving.”
However, Bolton would not speculate what the United States’ next step will be if North Korea does not live up to its word on denuclearization.
“I don’t really want to speak for chairman Kim,” Bolton said. “I can say this. The president is holding the door open for North Korea. He has shown them the future they can have if they follow through on what they said in Singapore. It’s up to North Korea to walk through the door. Nobody can say the president isn’t holding it wide open for them.”
Earlier on Monday, North Korean state media urged the United States to drop sanctions against the country, while South Korea reported investigating nine incidents in which coal from North Korea under the guise of Russian products, according to a Reuters report, but Bolton refused to discuss “sensitive intelligence matters” and give further details.
“Our position is we still want strict enforcement of all the sanctions,” said Bolton. “We continuously speak with all the countries in the region about the importance of that. We’re not going to tolerate diminution of the effect of the sanctions.
“We want the North Koreans to come forward and denuclearize as they have committed to do, and we’ll take the necessary steps, including enforcement steps, to keep the sanctions tight.”
There has been talk of a second summit between President Donald Trump and Kim, but Bolton said there has been nothing scheduled, even though letters have been exchanged between the two leaders.
“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is ready, willing and able to go back to Pyongyang and talk to Kim Jong Un and see if they can make further progress, but it’s really not so much a matter of conversation, it’s a matter of performance by North Korea,” said Bolton.
Show host Bill Hemmer asked Bolton what was in Trump’s letter to Kim.
“I’m surprised you don’t know already,” he said. “It’s a continued exchange of correspondence. The president is doing the best job he can to tell the North Korean not to miss this opportunity.”
Bolton also commented briefly on an assassination attempt on Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro, saying there is nothing more the Trump administration can add at this point.
“What we’ve been focusing on with our embassy in Caracas is ensuring the safety of Americans in Venezuela,” said Bolton.
“It is a potentially dangerous time. That’s our first priority. If the Maduro regime has any hard evidence of people in the United States engaging in activity that rises to a criminal violation, send it to us and we’ll take a serious look at it. They haven’t done that yet.”
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