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Bolton Pushes Breakneck Pace For North Korea Disarmament — Again

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Bolton Pushes Breakneck Pace For North Korea Disarmament — Again
North Korea is reportedly ramping up nuclear weapons production — but White House adviser John Bolton says it may denuclearize within a year.
SHOW TRANSCRIPT

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un doesn't seem ready to hand over his nuclear weapons to the U.S. anytime soon. The country appears to be ramping up production of both nuclear fuel and ballistic missile components, according to multiple reports.

But the White House is apparently staying optimistic about North Korean denuclearization. National security adviser John Bolton told CBS' "Face the Nation" that he thinks North Korea can dismantle its weapons programs within a year.

"If they have the strategic decision already made to do that and are cooperative, we can move very quickly," Bolton said.

Those are some big "ifs" from Bolton. Although Kim has suggested his regime would move away from a singular focus on nuclear weapons development, he's also called for a mass-production pipeline for nukes. If recent reports are correct, North Korea's already begun working on that pipeline.

So far, North Korea's only made vague pledges to eventually denuclearize the Korean peninsula. New nuclear enrichment activity might go against the spirit of those promises, but it doesn't violate any concrete agreements.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in charge of nailing down the specifics on North Korean denuclearization. And unlike Bolton, the former CIA director has been wary of demanding a specific timetable for North Korea to give up its weapons.

Bolton's comments have snarled North Korean diplomacy before. His previous remarks on using a rapid "Libya model" for denuclearizing North Korea briefly derailed the Singapore summit between Kim and President Trump.

Pompeo is expected to travel to North Korea later this week to lead another round of negotiations. The New York Times reports a specific disarmament timeline will be part of the discussions.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.