“[I] would like to welcome the wise political decision of President Trump to approach the DPRK-US relations from a more practical point of view,” said North Korea's chief negotiator with the US, Kim Myong-gil, on Friday, using an abbreviation for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Presstv Reported.
Referring to Bolton, Kim said, “A nasty trouble-maker who used to face everything out of his anachronistic way of thinking has disappeared from the US administration.”
Trump announced Bolton’s dismissal in a tweet last week, saying he had “disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions.” Bolton was known for his hawkish foreign policy approach, notably against countries such as North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Iran.
Bolton advocated for a “Libyan model” for North Korean denuclearization, calling for the full elimination of the country’s nuclear program as a precondition for US incentives.
Speaking on Wednesday, Trump said that Bolton’s Libya approach had set back US talks with North Korea “very badly,” adding that “maybe a new method would be very good.”
In his Friday remarks, Kim welcomed Trump’s comments and said they demonstrated “the political perception and disposition peculiar to President Trump.”
The chief negotiator added that while he was not sure what Trump meant by the “new method,” he believed that it could imply “a step-by-step solution starting with the things feasible first while building trust in each other would be the best option.”
North Korea, currently under multiple rounds of harsh sanctions by the United Nations (UN) and the US over its nuclear and missile programs, put a unilateral halt to its missile and nuclear tests — with the exception of a few test-launches recently — shortly before a diplomatic thaw began between Pyongyang and Seoul in early 2018.
That thaw later led to two summits between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to discuss the demilitarization of the Korean Peninsula, the first of which was held in Singapore in June last year and the second in Vietnam in February.
The talks made little progress, largely due to the Washington’s insistence on Pyongyang’s complete denuclearization before the removal of any US sanctions.
Pyongyang, on the other hand, has called for a step-by-step approach that would include verifiable American commitment to end its massive military presence near North Korean territorial waters.
Despite disagreements, however, Kim and Trump agreed to kick-start working-level talks during a third brief meeting at the Korean border at the end of June.