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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Bolton dismisses report of 'nuclear freeze' with North Korea

Iran Press TV

Mon Jul 1, 2019 03:23PM

US National Security Adviser John Bolton has dismissed reports that the administration of President Donald Trump is considering agreeing to a "freeze" of North Korea's nuclear weapons program as opposed to a more comprehensive denuclearization deal.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that Trump administration officials had been mulling a deal with Pyongyang to halt production of new nuclear material as a way to kickstart another round of talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The Times said the idea behind the plan was aimed at stopping North Korea's nuclear arsenal from expanding, but would not dismantle North Korea's existing arsenal of weapons.

"I read this NYT story with curiosity. Neither the NSC staff nor I have discussed or heard of any desire to 'settle for a nuclear freeze by NK.'" Bolton tweeted on Monday.

"This was a reprehensible attempt by someone to box in the President. There should be consequences," the hawkish adviser added.

Some recent reports have suggested that Trump is considering replacing Bolton over his plans to push the United States towards a military conflict with Iran, Venezuela and North Korea.

Bolton's comments came after Trump held a meeting with Kim on Sunday at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, in what was effectively an impromptu get-together.

Experts said the meeting, their third, was rich in symbolism, but lacked substance.

The two heads of state met for the first time in Singapore last year on Washington's initiative, with a view to enabling the North's denuclearization.

They met for a second summit in Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, in February. But that summit abruptly ended over disagreements on mutual compromises.

However, a recent exchange of affable messages between the leaders of the two countries again raised hopes for the revival of talks.

Following his Sunday meeting with Kim, Trump said US sanctions on North Korea would remain in place, but he said they could be scaled back as part of renewed negotiations.

"I don't like sanctions being on this country... But at some point during the negotiations things can happen, and that's when we will be talking about sanctions," the US president told reporters.

The US has over the years imposed or spearheaded rounds of sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs.

Washington now demands that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons entirely before the sanctions are lifted; Pyongyang insists on a step-by-step approach that would include verifiable American commitment to end its massive military presence in South Korea.

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