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Bolton Libya model remark may sabotage US-North Korea summit: Pundit

In this file photo taken on April 9, 2018 US President Donald Trump shakes hands with National Security Advisor John Bolton during a meeting with senior military leaders at the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

The forthcoming summit between North Korean leader Kim Jung-un and US President Donald Trump has hit a major road block. North Korea has threatened to cancel the planned summit, accusing the US administration of trying to force it "into a corner" on unilateral nuclear disarmament. This comes as Trump’s new national security adviser, John Bolton, says he is considering a “Libya model” to denuclearize North Korea, a model that Pyongyang has singled out in the past as a source of its distrust for Washington. Pyongyang has also cancelled high-level talks with Seoul over the US and the South's Max Thunder joint military exercises.

Press TV has talked to Daniel Serwer, professor at John Hopkins University, as well as Alexander Mercouris, editor-in-chief of The Duran, to discuss the issue.

Serwer believes Bolton’s remark about the Libya model are the reason why Pyongyang has threatened to cancel its planned summit with Washington rather than the US-South Korea joint military exercises.

“I think the Bolton remark about the Libya model was taken very badly in North Korea not because of the inspections that were part of the Libya model but because of what happened to [former Libyan leader Muammar] Gaddaffi after he had abandoned his nuclear program,” he said.

Serwer also stressed that the “complete denuclearization” the US wants is not what North Korea has in mind, arguing that there doesn’t appear to be “a zone of possible agreement” between Pyongyang and Washington.

Serwer further noted the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has “cast a big shadow” over the negotiations with North Korea.

He also expressed doubt that the United States could give any “security guarantees” to North Korea given the fact that Washington has no intention of withdrawing its troops from South Korea.

Meanwhile, Alexander Mercouris, the other panelist on the program, opined that the “fundamental problem” is that both North Korea and the United States imagine that they have put the other in a position where they were forced to negotiate.

“The United States thought it did force North Korea by imposing sanctions against it, North Korea thinks it has forced the US to negotiate by developing its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons program,” he stated.

The analyst also maintained that North Korea has been “infuriated” by Bolton’s comment which is the reason why it has threatened to cancel its planned summit with the United States.

The summit has been scheduled between Kim and Trump in Singapore on June 12.

The canceled meeting with the South was aimed at implementing a declaration resulting from an April 27 inter-Korea summit, which included vows to end the Korean War and pursue "complete denuclearization."

The analyst further predicted that there would be an attempt to put the summit back on track, asserting that there are already some indications that the United States is starting to “back off.”

According to Mercouris, North Korea envisages a peace treaty between the two Koreas of which China and the United States will be the co-guarantor, adding that its “ultimate objective” is the total withdrawal of US forces from South Korea.

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