John Bolton rejects notion of ‘failed‘ Trump-Kim summit: ‘He‘s not desperate for a deal‘

By – The Washington Times – Sunday, March 3, 2019

White House National Security Advisor on Sunday praised President ’s decision to walk away from negotiations last week with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that ended abruptly without securing a deal on the rogue nation’s nuclear arsenal.

As U.S. and South Korean officials announced plans to end large-scale, annual military exercises in the Korean Peninsula to support diplomacy with over the weekend, answered Sunday talk show questions about what has been called a “failed” summit between Washington and .

“I don’t agree at all that it was a failed summit,” , who attended the talks with Mr. Kim, told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.”

cut talks with Mr. Kim short when the North Korean leader insisted that all economic sanctions be dropped before his country agrees to completely dismantle its nuclear program.

North Korean officials were quick to dispute claims that it had requested to be relieved of all sanctions, saying in a rare press conference after the summit that they made a “realistic” proposal to the U.S. and only requested five of eleven sanctions be lifted.

Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho told reporters that offered to permanently end testing of long-range nuclear rockets and did not demand — as contended — an immediate end to all economic sanctions.

“I think [President ] made a very important point to and to other countries around the world,” told Fox News. “He’s not desperate for a deal, not with , not with anybody if it’s contrary to American national security interests.”

Mr. Ri said offered to dismantle the Yongbyon nuclear testing site, one of the largest test sites in the country, and all nuclear material production facilities in front of U.S. experts, but added that the U.S. demanded “one more” measure they were not willing to fulfill.

Speaking on CBS “Face the Nation,” said is “ready to keep talking” with and believes the country will review the outcome of the summit in Hanoi.

“The president is fully prepared to keep negotiating at lower levels or to speak to Kim Jong-un again when it’s appropriate,” he said.

“If commits to complete denuclearization, including its ballistic missile program and its chemical and biological weapons programs,” added, “the prospect of economic progress is there.”

In an effort to support ongoing negotiations and diplomacy with , the U.S. announced it will end large-scale military exercises with South Korea.

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In a statement released Saturday, the said South Korea “made clear that the alliance decision to adapt our training program reflected our desire to reduce tension and support our diplomatic efforts to achieve complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a final, fully verified manner.”

The annual exercises are a major point of contention for . previously has described the exercises — along with a separate series of drills that take place every fall — as “provocative.” Last year, the Pentagon temporarily suspended major military drills as part the president’s initial outreach to Mr. Kim.

The latest cancellation of the drills could be viewed by as something of an olive branch from the U.S., and suggests the administration plans to continue on its current diplomatic path.

On Sunday, Fox News’ Mr. Wallace pressed on the decision to end the annual drills and asked if the U.S. gave up a “big concession” by eliminating the exercises.

“The objective of making sure that denuclearizes is still the policy of the administration,” said. “I think our judgment right now is that time works in the favor of the president’s position as sees the effective of these sanctions taking greater effect.”

⦁ Ben Wolfgang contributed to this report.

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