Trump-Kim summit was ‘not a failure’, says John Bolton

Washington: White House National Security Adviser (NSA) John Bolton said that the second summit that took place last month in Hanoi between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was ‘not a failure’, local media reported.

In an interview with the CBS’s “Face the Nation”, on Sunday, Bolton cleared that despite the US President moved out of the meeting with the North Korean leader without reaching an agreement, he would soon be back on the negotiating table with the latter soon.

“I don’t consider the summit a failure. I consider it a success, defined as the president protecting and advancing American national interests,” Bolton said.

“The issue really was whether North Korea was prepared to accept what the president called the ‘big deal,’ which is denuclearisation entirely, under a definition the president handed to Kim Jong Un, and have the potential for an enormous economic future, or try to do something less than that, which was unacceptable to us. So the president held firm to his view,” he added.

The closely-watched Hanoi summit was expected to yield an agreement on the denuclearisation of North Korea. However, President Trump had earlier downplayed hopes for a breakthrough in nuclear talks at the start of the summit.

Even Bolton reiterated that Trump is “ready to keep talking” and may re-evaluate the meeting with Kim.
“What President Trump was trying to do was look at what was possible for them overall,” Bolton noted, adding that “He remains optimistic this is possible. Kim Jong-un himself said in our last meeting, you know, we’re going to go through many stations before we achieve this deal. The meeting in Hanoi was one such station. So the president is ready to keep talking.”

Bolton added that the Trump administration would maintain its economic sanctions against Pyongyang and the “maximum pressure” campaign, which “brought them to the table in the first place.”
“Well see what happens next,” Bolton said.

When asked whether Washington had made any counter-measures to secure the deal with Pyongyang, to which the White House representative replied that a counter-offer “has been there from the beginning from the very first summit.”

“If North Korea commits to complete denuclearisation, including its ballistic missile program and its chemical and biological weapons programs, the prospect of economic progress is there,” Bolton explained.
The White House in a statement had said that the two leaders had “very good and constructive” meetings in Hanoi and discussed various ways to advance denuclearisation and economic driven concepts.

Trump and Kim had met for the first time at Sentosa Island in Singapore last June, wherein the two leaders agreed to work towards achieving “fully verifiable” denuclearisation.

North Korea’s commitment to dismantle its nuclear weapons programmes was hailed as a major stride by the international community.

However, ties between the US and North Korea hit a roadblock over the ease of sanctions, where Pyongyang sought relief in economic sanctions as recognition of the steps taken towards denuclearisation.

Washington has, until now, reinforced that relief in sanctions would only be given after the communist country carries out complete denuclearisation.