John Bolton Suggests Trump is Bluffing on North Korea Nuclear Policy

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John Bolton criticized the Trump administrations tactic with North Korea, suggesting they don’t “really mean” to stop them from having deliverable nukes — “or it would be pursuing a different course.”

The president’s former national security adviser, who served until September, is speaking out ahead of an end-of-year timetable. If Kim Jong-un follows through on his threatened Christmas provocation, Bolton says the White House should do something “that would be very unusual” for this administration: admit they got it wrong on North Korea.

Bolton accused the administration of having a “rhetorical” policy of North Korea having nuclear weapons capable of striking America or its alliles. Bolton said that it is not true that the administration is exerting maximum pressure on North Korea, suggesting the U.S. Navy could intercept oil illegally reaching North Korea by sea.

North Korea has intimated it will be testing newly developed weapons in the coming weeks.

Trump has indicated he is not worried about Kim’s short range missiles, and Bolton criticizes those ideas.

When the president says, ‘Well, I’m not worried about short-range missiles,’ he’s saying, ‘I’m not worried about the potential risk to American troops deployed in the region or our treaty allies, South Korea and Japan.'”

The bottom line: “We’re now nearly three years into the administration with no visible progress toward getting North Korea to make the strategic decision to stop pursuing deliverable nuclear weapons,” Bolton said.

The rest of this story unfolds at Axios.