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 Sunday.
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 cooperate to see sanctions lifted quickly and aid from South Korea and Japan start to flow.
Bolton’s remarks on CBS’ “Face the Nation” appeared to be the first time the Trump administration had publicly suggested a timeline for North Korea to fulfill the commitment leader Kim Jong Un made at the historic summit with Trump last month for the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula.
Bolton 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, but reassured Americans that there is a plan in place to make sure North Koreans dismantle their weapons.
“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 cooperative, we can move very quickly,” he added.
He said the one-year program the U.S. is proposing would cover all of the North’s chemical and biological weapons, nuclear programs and ballistic missiles.
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.
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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.
“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 Defense 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 contributed to this article.