“The United States has lived up to the Singapore declaration,” Bolton said during an interview on “Fox and Friends.” “It’s just North Korea that has not taken the steps we feel are necessary to denuclearize.”
The stark comments come after Trump and Kim’s June meeting in Singapore, during which the White House said the North had made firm pledges to rid itself of its nuclear weapons. The joint statement released after the event, however, was vague at best and provided no clear pathway for Kim to do so. Bolton said just last month that the country could dismantle all of its nuclear weapons “in a year,” a far more ambitious timeline than that proposed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but experts have remained skeptical.
“What we really need is not more rhetoric,” Bolton told Fox News on Tuesday. “What we need is performance from North Korea on denuclearization.”
He continued to note that the U.S. has no current plans to relax sanctions on North Korea until there is evidence the country is taking steps to denuclearize, saying the Trump administration would continue its campaign of “maximum pressure.” But Trump has already given Kim some concessions, including ending joint military drills with South Korea.
“The idea that we’re going to relax the sanctions just on North Korea’s say-so, I think, is something that just isn’t under consideration,” Bolton said. “We’re going to continue to apply maximum pressure to North Korea until they denuclearize, just as we are to Iran.”
The president has also repeatedly defended Kim’s intentions, tweeting last month that he was “confident” the leader would “honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake.” He also offered to send Pompeo to Pyongyang again to continue negotiations.
U.S. officials told The Washington Post last month that spy satellites had detected new activity at a North Korean missile factory near Pyongyang. Photos appear to show that the country may be working on one or two liquid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States, but it’s unclear how far along any construction might be.