Bolton calls on N. Korea to make first move on denuclearization

June 20, 2018
This EPA file photo shows U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton. (Yonhap)

This EPA file photo shows U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton. (Yonhap)

WASHINGTON, June 20 (Yonhap) — North Korea should make the first move to dismantle its nuclear weapons program before expecting any easing of sanctions from the United States, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said Wednesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed in last week’s historic summit to commit to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in return for security guarantees.

As the two sides prepare follow-up negotiations to flesh out the deal, North Korea is expected to demand the lifting of sanctions that were tightened last year in the wake of its nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

“I think the first move here is really for North Korea to make,” Bolton said in an interview with Fox News. “They’ve said they want complete denuclearization. Now we are going to have to talk about how to achieve that, and I think you will see diplomatic engagement proceed very quickly.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday he will probably travel to North Korea “before too terribly long” to continue negotiations.

Bolton said the U.S. would like to move quickly.

“If they are serious, North Korea should want to move quickly, too,” he said.

And until North Korea takes “palpable, concrete” steps toward denuclearization, all the sanctions will remain in force.

“We’re urging everybody to continue them, and we’ll watch very closely what North Korea not only says, but what it does,” Bolton said.