FILE - In this June 27, 2018, file photo, U.S. National security adviser John Bolton listens to question as speaks to the media after his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia. Bolton said Sunday, July 1, the U.S. has a plan that would lead to the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs in a year. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

US plans for dismantling NKorea nukes may face resistance

John Bolton said it would be to the North’s advantage to co-operate to see sanctions lifted quickly

The United States has a plan that would lead to the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs in a year, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said, although U.S. intelligence reported signs that Pyongyang doesn’t intend to fully give up its arsenal.

John Bolton said top U.S. diplomat Mike Pompeo will be discussing that plan with North Korea in the near future. Bolton added that it would be to the North’s advantage to co-operate to see sanctions lifted quickly and aid from South Korea and Japan start to flow.

RELATED: North Korea commits to ‘complete denuclearization’

Bolton’s remarks Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” presented a very ambitious timeline for North Korea to fulfil the commitment leader Kim Jong Un made at a summit with Trump last month for the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters three weeks ago that the U.S. wants North Korea to take “major” nuclear disarmament steps within the next two years — before the end of Trump’s first term in January 2021.

Despite Trump’s rosy post-summit declaration that the North no longer poses a nuclear threat, Washington and Pyongyang have yet to negotiate the terms under which it would relinquish the weapons that it developed over decades to deter the U.S.

Doubts over North Korea’s intentions have deepened amid reports that it is continuing to produce fissile material for weapons.

The Washington Post on Saturday cited unnamed U.S. intelligence officials as concluding that North Korea does not intend to fully surrender its nuclear stockpile. Evidence collected since the June 12 summit in Singapore points to preparations to deceive the U.S. about the number of nuclear warheads in North Korea’s arsenal as well as the existence of undisclosed facilities used to make fissile material for nuclear bombs, according to the report.

It said the findings support a new, previously undisclosed Defence Intelligence Agency estimate that North Korea is unlikely to denuclearize. Some aspects of the new intelligence were reported on Friday by NBC News.

A U.S. official told The Associated Press that the Post’s report was accurate and that the assessment reflected the consistent view across U.S. government agencies for the past several weeks. The official was not authorized to comment publicly on the matter and requested anonymity.

Bolton on Sunday declined to comment on intelligence matters.

He said the administration was well-aware of North Korea’s track record over the decades in dragging out negotiations with the U.S. to continue weapons development.

“We have developed a program. I’m sure that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be discussing this with the North Koreans in the near future about really how to dismantle all of their WMD and ballistic missile programs in a year,” Bolton said. “If they have the strategic decision already made to do that, and they’re co-operative, we can move very quickly,” he added.

He said the one-year program the U.S. is proposing would cover all the North’s chemical and biological weapons, nuclear programs and ballistic missiles.

Even if North Korea is willing to co-operate, dismantling its secretive weapons of mass destruction programs, believed to encompass dozens of sites, will be tough. Stanford University academics, including nuclear physicist Siegfried Hecker, a leading expert on the North’s nuclear program, have proposed a 10-year roadmap for that task; others say it could take less time.

Pompeo has already visited Pyongyang twice since April to meet with Kim — the first time when he was still director of the CIA — and there are discussions about a possible third trip to North Korea late next week but such a visit has not yet been confirmed.

RELATED: North Korea demolishes nuke test site with series of blasts

Trump reiterated in an interview broadcast Sunday that he thinks Kim is serious about denuclearization.

“I made a deal with him. I shook hands with him. I really believe he means it,” the president said on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo.”

Trump defended his decision to suspend “war games” with close ally South Korea — a significant concession to North Korea, which so far has suspended nuclear and missile tests and destroyed tunnels at its nuclear test site but not taken further concrete steps to denuclearize.

“Now we’re saving a lot of money,” Trump said of the cancellation of large-scale military drills that involve flights of U.S. bombers from the Pacific U.S. territory of Guam.

“So we gave nothing.What we are going to give is good things in the future.And by the way I really believe North Korea has a tremendous future. I got along really well with Chairman Kim.We had a great chemistry,” Trump added.

Pressure will now be on Pompeo to make progress in negotiations with North Korea to turn the summit declaration into concrete action. He spoke with the foreign ministers of China, Japan and South Korea in recent days about the situation with the North, according to the State Department, which has declined to comment on any upcoming travel.

Pompeo postponed plans to meet with Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and their counterparts from India on July 6, citing unavoidable circumstances, which has fueled speculation he will make a third trip to Pyongyang.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Geography among factors behind Saanich’s place on worst intersection list

Site of McKenzie Interchange Project ranks as worst intersection on Vancouver Island

CRD commission votes against alternate Malahat route through watershed

Commission voted unanimously after several speakers at meeting

Victoria Police looking for rightful owner of abandoned toolbox

VicPD found a toolbox full of tools on the side of a downtown Victoria street

B.C. budget will have ‘very little impact’ on poverty, advocates say

New Child Opportunity Benefit and income assistance increases are too small for a large effect

Live like a tourist but save like a local this weekend in Greater Victoria

Be A Tourist in Your Own Hometown event is back Feb. 22 to 24 and March 1 to 3

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

Wife remembers B.C. man killed in possible case of mistaken identity

Rex Gill was in Kamloops working to support his family after oilfield job dried up

Early morning shooting in Courtenay

Reporter at taped-off scene outside apartment complex

One dead, two seriously injured in Hwy 4 crash west of Port Alberni

A man has died following a single-vehicle collision west of Port Alberni… Continue reading

New report calls for regulated heroin sales to curb B.C.’s overdose problem

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Millennial men least likely to have a family doctor: Statistics Canada

Report found more women have primary care physicians, compared with men

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

70% of Canadians agree with mandatory vaccines for children: poll

The debate for pro and anti vaccinations has heated up after a measles outbreak in Vancouver

Most Read