Bolton says in jest N. Korea would be happy if he becomes top U.S. diplomat

November 21, 2016

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 (Yonhap) — John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and one of President-elect Donald Trump’s candidates for secretary of state, sarcastically said Sunday that North Korea would be happy if he gets the job.

Bolton, a security hawk known for hard-line views on Iran and North Korea, joked about North Korea’s hatred of him at the end of his interview with Fox News about how bad and dangerous the Iranian nuclear deal is.

As anchor Eric Shawn wrapped up the interview, he offered congratulations to Bolton on his birthday Sunday, saying he might get the nomination to be Trump’s first secretary of state as his birthday present.

“Happy birthday. I’m sure the North Koreans are happy too,” Bolton said in response.

As the anchor explained the history between Bolton and North Korea, and said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “would be happy” if Bolton becomes secretary of state, Bolton said, laughing, “Indeed.”

When Bolton was under secretary of state for nonproliferation affairs from 2001-2005, he made a series of remarks highly critical of the regime in Pyongyang and then-leader Kim Jong-il. He also called for a regime change in Pyongyang.

The North unleashed vituperation in response, describing him as “human scum,” “devoid of reason,” “an ugly fellow who cannot be regarded as a human being” and a “bloodthirsty fiendish bloodsucker” among other things.

The possibility of Bolton becoming the top American diplomat has spurred concern the U.S. policy on the North could become too hawkish.

In what appeared to be an effort to soften his image, Bolton said during a meeting with a group of South Korean lawmakers last week that there is “zero” chance of the U.S. launching a pre-emptive strike on North Korea.


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