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Bolton calls N. Korea's threat 'unhelpful,' urges China to do more

09:27 March 18, 2019

WASHINGTON, March 17 (Yonhap) -- While U.S. President Donald Trump stayed silent about North Korea's threat to suspend dialogue and resume provocative acts, his top aides rapped the communist nation for the "unhelpful" move, calling it a potential "breach of trust."

"The North Koreans really were unfortunately not willing to do what they needed to do," National Security Adviser John Bolton said in a radio interview that aired Sunday, referring to the unfruitful Hanoi summit between Trump and North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un.

He described Pyongyang's latest statement as "unhelpful."

Last Friday, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui announced that her regime will end talks with Washington and shift back to missile and nuclear testing should the U.S. stick to unacceptable demands.

North Korea wants the U.S. to lift some of the major sanctions on it in exchange for dismantling the Yongbyon nuclear facilities. But Trump called for more concrete denuclearization steps in the summit in late February.

If North Korea goes back to a provocation mode, Bolton said, it would "not be a good idea on their part."

He added Trump wants to see the threat resolved through negotiations.

"He has made a number of proposals to Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader. It hasn't worked out yet, but the President is still willing to try to do it," he added.

The official stressed that China should help put more pressure on Pyongyang.

"What they could do more of, frankly, is (to) exert more pressure on North Korea: Apply the U.N. sanctions more tightly," he said. "They control 90 percent of North Korea's external trade, so China could have a very important role here. There's no question about it."

In his own interview with Fox News Sunday, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney warned North Korea not to breach trust.

"I think the resumption of the missile testing would be seen as sort of a violation of some sort of breach of trust," he said. "I think there was a general understanding that there was no reason for that to continue, as long as we were continuing to have conversations. And the conversations continue."

lcd@yna.co.kr
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