Former national security adviser John Bolton told an audience at Duke University in his first public remarks since impeachment that President Donald Trump’s peacemaking efforts with North Korea amounted to “a wasted two years,” because the country never plans to give up its nuclear weapons.
“It was perfectly evident it was going to fail,” The Washington Post quoted Bolton as saying Monday. “There is not a single piece of evidence that the government of North Korea has made a strategic decision to give up the pursuit of nuclear weapons.”
North Korea wanted to “break free” from international sanctions, Bolton said. He described North Korea as “jiving the Americans” as he claimed that the nation was getting closer to being able to drop nuclear weapons on U.S. cities.
When asked if he had shared his views on North Korea with the president before accepting a job in his administration, Bolton reportedly replied: “Well, I’d be happy to answer that question except part of this is now involved in the pre-publication review of my book.” Bolton also revealed concerns about what he described as the attempted “censorship” of his manuscript.
Though Bolton publicly supported Trump’s policies when he worked for the administration, the president did not always back his national security adviser.
Bolton is not the first American foreign policy expert to criticize Trump’s actions toward North Korea. Speaking with Salon last year, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said that the Singapore summit between Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was “a ‘Kim win’ because the President canceled some exercises that we have with our allies, the Japanese and the South Koreans, and it’s unclear to me what the North Koreans gave or what it is that they put up to this, especially since they have not agreed to any kind of way of an inventory or international way of figuring out what they have and what denuclearization — which is what we are trying to get — what is the measurement of that, what’s going on.