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Bolton: U.S. needs 'real indication' N.K. is ready to denuclearize

North Korea 05:31 April 18, 2019

WASHINGTON, April 17 (Yonhap) -- U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said Wednesday that the U.S. needs to see a "real indication" that North Korea is ready to give up its nuclear weapons before any third summit between their leaders.

In an interview with Bloomberg News, Bolton was asked what the U.S. would need to see ahead of a third meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

"I think a real indication from North Korea that they've made the strategic decision to give up nuclear weapons," he said.

Trump and Kim's summits -- the first in Singapore in June, and the second in Vietnam in February -- have so far yielded little progress in dismantling the North's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs despite their commitment to pursue complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

In return, Trump has promised unspecified security guarantees for Pyongyang.

This EPA file photo shows U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton. (Yonhap)

Asked whether there was any progress toward denuclearization, Bolton said, "I wouldn't say we could say that at this point."

"The president is fully prepared to have a third summit if he can get a real deal," he also said.

Both sides have left open the door to dialogue since the second summit in Hanoi ended without a deal due to differences over the scope of North Korea's denuclearization and sanctions relief from the U.S.

In a speech to the North's parliament last week, Kim said he would be willing to hold a third summit if the U.S. came with the "right attitude" and "right methodology."

Trump tweeted in response that he agreed that a third summit "would be good in that we fully understand where we each stand."

South Korean President Moon Jae-in was in Washington last week to meet with Trump and discuss ways to bridge the gap between the U.S. and the North.

Upon returning to Seoul, Moon said he will seek a fourth summit with Kim without being restrained by its location or format.

Bolton said the U.S. has tried to stay "very close" to South Korea.

"President Moon himself is going to be trying to speak with Kim Jong-un, so we're watching it very closely and we're ready to talk about what the president calls the big deal," he said, referring to a package deal under which the North would give up all of its weapons of mass destruction capabilities in return for economic concessions.

hague@yna.co.kr
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