According to a high-ranking official in the North Korean government, leader Kim Jong Un is having second thoughts about continuing negotiations with the U.S. over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui blamed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser, John Bolton, “for an atmosphere of distrust surrounding the negotiations during a press conference.”
Choe warned that the “gangster-like stand of the U.S. will eventually put the situation in danger.”
She also added: “Personal relations between the two supreme leaders are still good and the chemistry is mysteriously wonderful.”
According to Reuters, Chose said “We have no intention to yield to the U.S. demands [at the Vietnam summit] in any form, nor are we willing to engage in negotiations of this kind.”
These comments came in the wake of last month’s summit in Hanoi, in which both sides left the summit without an agreement to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula or provide further relief from U.S. sanctions.
Trump told reports at the White House last week that American relations with North Korea continue to be productive.
Trump said, “Well, time will tell, but I have a feeling that our relationship with North Korea — Kim Jong Un and myself — Chairman Kim — I think it’s a very good one.”
With these rumors of negotiations breaking down, there is legitimate credence to the theory that John Bolton has worked to derail Trump’s negotiations.
Frankly, Trump has not done a great job in keeping neocons like John Bolton out of his circle. This was on display with Bolton’s increasingly hostile rhetoric towards Venezuela.
At the end of the day, powerful foreign policy interests still have tremendous pull in DC. Institutional inertia is a hallmark of politics, and Trump’s foreign policy agenda is witnessing this firsthand.
As the pillar of the Executive Branch, Trump should reassert his authority and tell the rest of the neocon cabal surrounding him to beat it.
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