FILE - In this June 27, 2018, file photo, U.S. National security adviser John Bolton listens to question as speaks to the media after his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia. Bolton said Sunday, July 1, the U.S. has a plan that would lead to the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs in a year. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

US plans for dismantling NKorea nukes may face resistance

John Bolton said it would be to the North’s advantage to co-operate to see sanctions lifted quickly

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, 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 co-operate to see sanctions lifted quickly and aid from South Korea and Japan start to flow.

RELATED: North Korea commits to ‘complete denuclearization’

Bolton’s remarks Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” presented a very ambitious timeline for North Korea to fulfil the commitment leader Kim Jong Un made at a summit with Trump last month for the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters three weeks ago that the U.S. wants North Korea to take “major” nuclear disarmament steps within the next two years — before the end of Trump’s first term in January 2021.

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 Defence Intelligence Agency estimate that North Korea is unlikely to denuclearize. Some aspects of the new intelligence were reported on 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 co-operative, we can move very quickly,” he added.

He said the one-year program the U.S. is proposing would cover all the North’s chemical and biological weapons, nuclear programs and ballistic missiles.

Even if North Korea is willing to co-operate, dismantling its secretive weapons of mass destruction programs, believed to encompass dozens of sites, will be tough. Stanford University academics, including nuclear physicist Siegfried Hecker, a leading expert on the North’s nuclear program, have proposed a 10-year roadmap for that task; others say it could take less time.

Pompeo has already visited Pyongyang twice since April to meet with Kim — the first time when he was still director of the CIA — and there are discussions about a possible third trip to North Korea late next week but such a visit has not yet been confirmed.

RELATED: North Korea demolishes nuke test site with series of blasts

Trump reiterated in an interview broadcast Sunday that he thinks Kim is serious about denuclearization.

“I made a deal with him. I shook hands with him. I really believe he means it,” the president said on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo.”

Trump defended his decision to suspend “war games” with close ally South Korea — a significant concession to North Korea, which so far has suspended nuclear and missile tests and destroyed tunnels at its nuclear test site but not taken further concrete steps to denuclearize.

“Now we’re saving a lot of money,” Trump said of the cancellation of large-scale military drills that involve flights of U.S. bombers from the Pacific U.S. territory of Guam.

“So we gave nothing.What we are going to give is good things in the future.And by the way I really believe North Korea has a tremendous future. I got along really well with Chairman Kim.We had a great chemistry,” Trump added.

Pressure will now be on Pompeo to make progress in negotiations with North Korea to turn the summit declaration into concrete action. He spoke with the foreign ministers of China, Japan and South Korea in recent days about the situation with the North, according to the State Department, which has declined to comment on any upcoming travel.

Pompeo postponed plans to meet with Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and their counterparts from India on July 6, citing unavoidable circumstances, which has fueled speculation he will make a third trip to Pyongyang.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Two fires of note burning in Southeast Fire Centre

As of Saturday afternoon there were more than 20 fires burning in the Southeast Fire Centre.

‘Farm the Kootenays’ creates supportive community

Helping hobbyists and serious producers alike, the Facebook group has grown to nearly 12,000 members

Who will fill the Greyhound void in the Kootenays?

Minister Conroy, MLA for Kootenay West sees opportunity for local operators

Equipment lost in arson at Greenwood landfill

The cost of replacing equipment is expected to be significant.

What you see …

If you have a recent photo to share email editor@trailtimes.ca

All-Indigenous teams break new ground, making BC Games history

This is the first time there have been dedicated Indigenous teams at the BC Summer Games

The Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw people signed an agreement-in-principle with the B.C. government

The signing ceremony, at the Eliza Archie Memorial School, was 25 years in the making

Ping-pong balls of fire dropped to merge two B.C. wildfires

The merger is considered successful by BC Wildfire Services

Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Francesco Molinari wins British Open at Carnoustie

It is his first win at a major and the first by an Italian

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

ZONE 1: Hannah Tracey looks to mom as role model while at BC Games

‘She has believed in me when I couldn’t believe in myself,’ Tracey said at BC Summer Games in Cowichan

Recovery high schools could help teens before addiction takes hold: B.C. parents

Schools could provide mental health supports and let parents discuss their children’s drug use openly

Haida Gwaii village faces housing crisis, targets short-term rentals

Housing is tight and the village is pretty close to zero vacancy

Most Read