11.09.2019 | North Korea 'poised to expand nuclear operation' after John Bolton's White House exit
Source - The Daily Express
Trump and Kim Jong-un are due to resume talks later this month as the US looks to usher North Korea into denuclearisation – but the US President's dismissal of Bolton raises concerns regarding this objective. The 70-year-old had been one of Washington's sterner communicators on North Korea having previously called for preemptive strikes and tough measures on the denuclearisation process. Now, in his absence, observers believe the Trump administration's tough stance on the rogue state may soften – opening the door to the regime revisiting its nuclear programme.
Park Won-gon, professor of international politics at Handong Global University said: "Now, Bolton, who is well versed in the denuclearisation issue and not a politician, was removed, which means that politicians like Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may spearhead the handling of the North Korea nuclear quandary.
"So the chances are that politicians may prioritise political interests, particularly when the election season approaches."
North Korea has never responded well to Bolton, with Pyonyang officials dubbing him a "warmonger" and "human defect" that "deserves an earlier vanishing".
While Bolton's removal from talks will calm the North Koreans, many fear that this may send a counter-productive message to Kim and encourage more nuclear activity.
Mike Pompeo, Trump's Secretary of State has denied this, he said: "I don't think any leader around the world should make any assumption that because one of us departs that President Trump's foreign policy will change in a material way."
Pompeo too was met with hostility and branded a "diehard toxin" by a DPRK government representative after he called for Kim to stop missile testing.
Pompeo continued: "I think President Trump would be very disappointed if Chairman Kim doesn't return to the negotiating table or conducts missile tests that are inconsistent with the agreements that they made when the two of them were together these three times.”
Just hours after agreeing to resume talks, two more North Korean nukes were tested leaving South Korea furious.
A South Korean army spokesman said: "Our military is monitoring the situation in the case of additional launches and maintaining a readiness posture. We call on North Korean to instantly stop such acts that heighten tensions."
The launches were the eighth since late July and the first since August 24.
The previous seven launches have revealed short-range missile and rocket artillery systems that experts say would potentially expand its capabilities to strike targets throughout South Korea, including US military bases there.
The North Koreans have shown disobedience already despite Pompeo's strong words, will Bolton's sacking prove a costly error?