US to N. Korea: Full dismantlement of nuke and ballistic missile program a prerequisite for benefits

US National Security Adviser John Bolton said Sunday there will be no benefits to North Korea before it fully dismantles all elements of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are set to meet in Singapore on 12 June to discuss the issue of the North’s denuclearization.

“Denuclearization is absolutely at the core of it, and it means not just nuclear weapons,” Bolton said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“North Korea has also previously agreed … to give up its uranium reprocessing capabilities, we’ve got ballistic missiles on the table, we’ve got to look at chemical and biological weapons.

Bolton noted that North Korea had previously agreed to decommission its uranium reprocessing capabilities and that the U.S. has ballistic missiles “on the table.” But, he said, the U.S. had a range of things to discuss, floating the idea of looking at chemical and biological weapons.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton during an interview to Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s “This Week” on 13 May 2018

“We want to see the denuclearization process so completely underway that it is irreplaceable,” Bolton said.

“I think we are prepared to open to trade and investment with North Korea as soon as we can,” Bolton said, noting that such cooperation can’t happen until a denuclearization agreement is reached.

Earlier, on Saturday, North Korea’s state media KCNA reported that North Korea would dismantle its nuclear test site in less than two weeks, in a dramatic event that would set up leader Kim Jong Un’s summit with President Donald Trump.

In a press release, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said all of the tunnels at the country’s northeastern testing ground would be destroyed by explosions, and observation and research facilities and ground-based guard units will also be removed.

“A ceremony for dismantling the nuclear test ground is now scheduled between May 23 and 25,” depending on weather, the Foreign Ministry’s statement said, adding that journalists from the United States, South Korea, China, Russia and Britain will be invited to witness the dismantling.

US President Donald Trump, in a tweet Saturday, welcomed the North Korea’s statement and thanked North Korea for its plan to dismantle the nuclear test site, calling it “a very smart and gracious gesture!”

South Korea has said Kim has a genuine interest in dealing away his nuclear weapons in return for economic benefits. However, there are lingering doubts about whether Kim would ever agree to fully relinquish the weapons he probably views as his only guarantee of survival.

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