Kim Jong Un received expanded U.S. definition of "denuclearization": Bolton

by Garry Watts March 12, 2019, 1:11
Kim Jong Un received expanded U.S. definition of

"The North could be trying to show the U.S. it can always turn back to aggressive posture by rebuilding missile sites in order to gain leverage in future talks, but without actually firing a missile or rocket", said Cheong Seong-Chang, a senior researcher at the private Sejong Institute.

The Sohae facility has been inactive since the first summit last June between Trump and Kim in Singapore.

In response to reports of activity around the plant and missile test site, White House National Security Advisor, John Bolton, said that Washington would be "pretty disappointed" if North Korea chooses to go ahead with a ballistic test.

The once-every-five-year election also took place after Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump fell short of a deal at their February 27-28 summit in Hanoi over the gap between Washington's insistence on denuclearization and Pyongyang's demand for sanctions relief.

"The president has been very clear that he's not going to make the mistakes of prior administrations". And I don't think I will be, but we'll see what happens.

South Korea's military said Monday it was closely monitoring North Korean facilities after a series of satellite images triggered global alarm that Pyongyang might be preparing a long-range missile or space launch.

The Trump administration and many US lawmakers across party lines still believe in a hard-line stance on North Korea, maintaining that there can be no sanctions relief before denuclearization, according to multiple diplomatic sources Thursday.

Town, who's also a research fellow at the Washington-based Stimson Center, said it was too early to say what North Korea was doing based only on satellite imagery.

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On Friday, Mr Trump admitted he would be disappointed if North Korea resumed weapons testing.

Bolton's comments came after two USA think tanks and Seoul's spy agency said last week that North Korea was rebuilding a rocket launch site at Sohae in the west of the country.

In the course of a almost a year of diplomatic engagement with the United States, North Korea has maintained a freeze on missile and nuclear tests and space rocket launches in place since 2017 and Trump has repeatedly stressed this as a positive outcome of the diplomacy.

"Kim could use a launch to demonstrate at the 14th Supreme People's Assembly, probably in mid-April, that he has not been cowed by sanctions", said former USA negotiator Joel Wit, now the director of the respected 38 North website.

"The technology for making sure you put the satellite into the right orbit is the same technology for making sure the missile is on the right course", Lewis said, noting that previous North Korean launches used older technology.

"It's one reason why all of the pundits and all of the experts predicting a deal in Hanoi were wrong, because the leverage is on our side right now, not on North Korea's", he said. The two leaders did not reach a deal on denuclearization.

"If North Korea commits to complete denuclearization- including its ballistic missile program and its chemical and biological weapons programs, the prospect of economic progress is there", Bolton said last week.

Bolton called the incremental approach North Korea has sought a "ploy" to obtain sanctions relief.

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