Bolton: N. Korea Could Dismantle Nuclear Program Within a Year

Bolton: N. Korea Could Dismantle Nuclear Program Within a Year

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will leave for North Korea on Thursday seeking agreement on a plan for the country's denuclearization, despite mounting doubts about Pyongyang's willingness to abandon a weapons program that threatens the United States and its allies.

After his trip to Pyongyang until Saturday, Pompeo will visit Tokyo on Saturday and Sunday to meet with Japanese and South Korean officials and "discuss our shared commitment to the final, fully verified denuclearization" of the North, the State Department said.

Mr Pompeo last visited Pyongyang in May ahead of the Trump-Kim summit and travelled there secretly in early April while he was director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

But a joint statement signed by the two leaders did not detail how and when North Korea will achieve denuclearization.

"We're very well aware of North Korea's patterns of behavior over decades of negotiating with the United States", Bolton said".

At last month's summit with Trump in Singapore, Kim agreed to "work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula", but offered little in the way of specifics.

President Donald Trump's top diplomat has scheduled new talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the White House said Monday.

Nam Sung-wook, a professor at Korea University in South Korea, said the USA officials or academics speaking out likely aimed to put pressure on both North Korea and Trump.

Sung Kim, an ambassador to South Korea between 2011 and 2014 and a nuclear negotiator with the North during previous talks, has taken on a key role in dialogue with Pyongyang in recent months.

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The meeting comes amid growing scrutiny of Pyongyang's commitment to denuclearization and as joint efforts to repatriate the remains of US troops from North Korea are taking longer than many anticipated.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the USA and North Korea were "continuing to make progress" in their nuclear negotiations, but refused to comment on intelligence reports that Pyongyang was not adhering to its commitment to work toward denuclearizing.

"I am not going to comment on any reports, true, untrue, or partially true, about intelligence", he said.

In an interview Sunday with CNN Newsroom, Vinograd cited the news this week that satellite footage showed no changes were being made to the nuclear programs in the country.

Patrick Cronin, senior director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, said US and South Korea officials had told him Pompeo would be seeking to agree to "a specific denuclearization road map, or at least significant dismantlement steps that could fill in a roadmap". "I really believe he means it", the president said on Fox News Channel's "Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo".

"I made a deal with him; I shook hands with him".

"This is not like North Korea cheating or deceiving the US because they've made no commitments". And it is to North Korea's advantage to dismantle very quickly.

Even if North Korea is cooperative, the magnitude of dismantling its weapons of mass destruction programs, believed to encompass dozens of sites, will be tough, according to Stanford University academics, including nuclear physicist Siegfried Hecker, a leading expert on the North's nuclear program. "Secondly, they likely targeted (Trump), asking if he was deceived by North Korea because no progress has been reported in the three weeks after the summit".