John Bolton publicly rebuked President Trump's diplomatic outreach to North Korea on Monday, a signal that the former White House national security adviser could assume a role as an outspoken critic of a president with whom he was often at odds.
"It seems to be clear that the DPRK has not made a strategic decision to give up its nuclear weapons", Mr Bolton said, referencing the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"Under current circumstances, he will never give up the nuclear weapons voluntarily", Bolton said at an annual forum on Korea hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The negotiations have stalled since a second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam in February ended without a deal due to differences over the scope of North Korea's denuclearization and sanctions relief from the US. Shortly after he joined the administration in 2018, Bolton publicly suggested the "Libya model", leading to an angry riposte by Kim Kye Gwan, then the first vice minister of foreign affairs of North Korea.
"Right now we are in a classic standoff with North Korea", Bolton said.
"I think General Dunford was completely correct", Bolton said.
Christopher Hill, who served as the lead US negotiator during the Six-Party Talks with North Korea during the George W. Bush administration, has criticized Trump's strategy. "There are things we should look to and have serious discussions about", Bolton said.
In his speech at CSIS, Bolton also undercut a key boast of the administration: that Trump's combination of diplomacy and sanctions led to a halt of intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear weapons tests.
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"In fact, I think the contrary is true".
Bolton, a chief architect of Trump's strident stance against Iran, had argued against the president's suggestions of a possible meeting with the Iranian leadership and advocated a tougher approach on Russian Federation and, more recently, Afghanistan.
After mentioning the need to discuss with China the goal of reunifying the two Koreas under a freely elected government similar to that in South Korea, he added: "Third, if you believe - and you may not - that it is unacceptable for North Korea to have nuclear weapons, at some point military force has to be an option".
Kim complained that the UN Security Council has been "reduced into an instrument for the strategic interests of a specific country", apparently referring to the United States, "thus pursuing sanctions and pressure and even the regime change against selective countries".
Bolton had offered direct criticisms of Trump's policies on Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea during a private event at the Gatestone Institute two weeks ago, according to Politico.
During his inaugural United Nations speech in 2017, Trump threatened to wipe out North Korea, however, since June past year he has met three times with its leader Kim in a bid to convince Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear and missile programs.
It is attributable to the double dealing behavior of the South Korean authorities, who performed the act of a handshake of peace before all, but behind the scenes, introduced ultra-modern offensive weapons and held joint military exercises with the United States, targeting the DPRK.
Trump fired Bolton this month amid policy disagreements over North Korea and other issues. "But what I regard as even worse, in a way, is pretending that you're getting to a resolution of the nuclear issue when you simply allow North Korea still to have a nuclear capability but give it enough economic assistance ... that gives the regime a lifeline it now doesn't have".