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Bolton: N. Korea wants to buy time to develop nukes

in ASIA by

John Bolton, the incoming U.S. national security adviser, said North Korea is offering negotiations with the United States in order to buy time to develop its nuclear weapons. “I think we have to look at what North Korea’s motivation is here. I think they’re very worried that they’ve got a different president in the White House than Barack Obama. They’re worried about the pressure that the president’s already put on” Bolton said in an interview.

“They’ve got a fairly limited number of things they need to do in North Korea to make their nuclear warheads actually deliverable on targets in the United States. So they want to try and slow roll the negotiations to buy more time. This is something they’ve done consistently over the last 25 years” he added. Taking months to prepare for the meeting would “simply play into the North Korean playbook” Bolton concluded.

North Korea: the challenge of turning inter-Korean thaw into longer-term detente


The peaceful climate in which yesterday’s meeting between South and North Korea took place quickly evaporate when the North’s chief negotiator threatened to walk out after the South Korean side raised the question Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes. “We had started in a good spirit but this came to an icky mood”, North Korea’s lead delegate Ri Son Gwon complained in closing remarks. Ri also said he would not discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme with the South because its nuclear bombs and intercontinental ballistic missiles are aimed “thoroughly” at the United States, not at its “brethren” in the South. This reaction shows how, although talks yielded agreements to hold military talks and facilitate North Korea’s participation in next month’s Winter Olympics in South Korea, turning this loosening of tensions into a longer-term detente will be very difficult. North Korea in fact does not intend to negotiate its nuclear arsenal while on the other side Washington insist that complete denuclearisation is the only acceptable outcome.

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