And Frankly, They May Know Bolton Better Than Even Trump Does, Since He Scuttled The Last North Korea Deal The U.S. Had With Them…
North Korea this morning suspended talks with South Korea, and threatened not to show up for the summit between Trump and Kim Jong-un scheduled for June 12th. The only thing we find surprising is why they hadn’t done this sooner.
With that said, unlike a lot of mainstream media, we don’t really think the Trump/Kim summit is in serious jeopardy. Not quite yet. Mainly because Trump really really really wants it to happen.
And if you look at the entire statement North Korea’s Foreign Affairs Ministry released this morning, it actually praises Trump, and indicates they believe his intentions are true. At the same time, it raises serious concerns about his newly appointed National Security Adviser, whom they repeatedly mention by name. Here it is, in English, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Cheng (click on it to see larger version):
Bolton’s been talking for several weeks to anyone who will listen about how the U.S. wants to pursue a “Libya model” in the talks with Kim Jong-un. Which we’ve been saying is a not-so-subtle attempt to single-handedly ruin the negotiations. Because who the hell would want to end up as Libya did with its regime collapsed and its dictator brutally murdered in the streets?!
And North Korea’s been listening. It’s actually been listening a lot. An editorial today in the newspaper Rodong Simun, that hasn’t been widely covered, condemns a comment made by a U.S. State Department spokesperson referring to human rights in North Korea, which haven’t seemed to be on Trump’s agenda for the meeting so far, and probably still aren’t. This story was barely covered in the U.S. Still, the North Korean article asserts: “The U.S. gets hell-bent on putting pressure on [North Korea], raising the non-existent ‘human rights issue’ ahead of the DPRK-U.S. dialogue. This is a senseless act of disregarding elementary etiquette.”
As Foreign Policy points out: “Bolton was undersecretary of state for arms control and international security when President George W. Bush’s administration made the fateful decision in 2002 to kill the 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea.” Meaning he had a lot to do with that decision (one of many he’s made that turned out to have disastrous consequences). Yes, North Korea was cheating on the agreement it’d forged with the Clinton administration, but the U.S. never fulfilled its side of the bargain either. Also, it was seen by Republicans as a “Clinton thing” that needed to be undone when George W. Bush came into office. So it’s no surprise that Bolton wrote in a book that he was actively looking for a “hammer” to “shatter” the agreement. Actually, when Trump talks about how North Korea should’ve been settled “long ago”, whether he realizes it or not, he’s really talking at least partly about Bolton’s failure.
So for now, we believe it’s a test for Trump, more than a real threat to throw away everything. What happens next is all up to Trump now…