During an interview with Fox News, US National Security Adviser John Bolton echoed what many of us already know: North Korea is not taking any real steps toward denuclearization. In the same interview, in response to the possibility of another visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to North Korea, Bolton declared, “what we really need is not more rhetoric. What we need is performance from North Korea on denuclearization.”
Bolton’s comments are surprisingly only insofar that they strike a very different tone from the optimistic line that has prevailed in the White House since the Singapore summit earlier this year. They’re in keeping with Bolton’s reputation as a hawk; he is known to be strongly opposed to any sanction relief before comprehensive and verified denuclearization, and he is believed to have been deeply skeptical of the Singapore summit’s prospects from the very beginning.