North Korea could scrap nuclear talks altogether as a 'Christmas gift' to US president Donald Trump, who the rogue state believes is vulnerable after impeachment
- North Korea views President Donald Trump as politically vulnerable following his impeachment, and is reluctant to continue talks with his administration moving into 2020, according to CNN report.
- Pyongyang is seemingly set to scrap nuclear negotiations altogether, which effectively means it will refuse to denuclearize.
- Meanwhile, former National Security Adviser John Bolton in a new interview suggested it's time for the Trump administration to admit its policy toward North Korea has failed.
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A source familiar with the North Korean leadership's thinking told CNN there is concern Trump's impeachment has made him politically vulnerable. The rogue state is seemingly worried that if Trump loses in November 2020, whoever replaces him could refuse to uphold any deals made regarding denuclearization.
In this context, North Korea is set to adopt a hardline policy toward Washington. This will involve abandoning negotiations with the US and reaffirming its status as a nuclear state, according to the report.
During his first year in the White House, Trump frequently engaged in a war of words with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, with the two leaders routinely exchanging insults and threats from across the globe. This chest-thumping sometimes raised fears a nuclear war was on the horizon.
"The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea," Trump said during his first speech before the UN in September 2017.
The relationship shifted dramatically in 2018 as both leaders changed tone and held a historic summit in Singapore in June of that year to discuss denuclearization.
Trump and Kim have met a total of three times in person, and the president often speaks warmly of the North Korean leader - referring to him as a friend. But Trump's photo-op diplomacy and flattery toward Kim, widely regarded as one of the world's most repressive rulers, has failed to push North Korea to fully denuclearize.
Critics of the president feel Trump has helped legitimize North Korea while receiving little of benefit in return for the US. The Trump administration has touted the dialogue with North Korea and claimed progress is being made. But Pyongyang has rejected such assertions.
In early December, Ri Thae Song, a first vice minister at the North Korean Foreign Ministry working on US affairs, said: "The dialogue touted by the US is, in essence, nothing but a foolish trick hatched to keep the DPRK bound to dialogue and use it in favor of the political situation and election in the US."
Ri added: "It is entirely up to the US what Christmas gift it will select to get."
Meanwhile, former National Security Adviser John Bolton in an interview with Axios published on Sunday said the Trump administration might soon need to publicly admit its strategy with North Korea has failed.
"We're now nearly three years into the administration with no visible progress toward getting North Korea to make the strategic decision to stop pursuing deliverable nuclear weapons," Bolton said.
Trump's former national security adviser said he doesn't think the administration is really serious about seeing North Korea dismantle its nuclear program "or it would be pursuing a different course."
- Read more:
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- Here's how Trump could be impeached and removed from office and still win reelection in 2020
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