While many of Trump's detractors celebrated the cooling of tensions that surrounds the current phase of diplomacy, few shared his optimism about the prospects of "denuclearization".
Bolton's remarks Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation" presented an ambitious timeline for North Korea to fulfil that commitment.
His recent summit with Kim Jong Un, the first official meeting between a North Korean leader and a sitting USA president, is perhaps the best sign of reduced tensions, though experts have questioned whether the meeting moved North Korea any closer to giving up its nuclear weapons.
There was also a realization, one official said, that maintaining Chinese and Russian cooperation over North Korea would be "more problematic if the US stuck to an all-or-nothing posture".
South Korean officials and basketball players left for North Korea by air on Tuesday to participate in friendly matches in Pyongyang, as proposed at a historic inter-Korean summit in April. It is believed to have twice the uranium enrichment capacity of the lone enrichment facility acknowledged by Pyongyang.
Kim has consistently said he's willing to denuclearize, but long-time North Korea watchers worry that Pyongyang and Washington have very different definitions of the term denuclearization.
A source familiar with China-North Korea relations explained that such a request for security carries the implication that "China will clearly support and defend the regime if the dictatorship is shaken by an influx of information and other factors as it implements economic reforms and opens up its economic system". "There seems little reason to continue expansion plans if the regime meant to dismantle them as would be required under a denuclearization agreement". He meets with President Trump on Monday.
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Despite the Trump administration's apparent optimism about completely dismantling the threat from North Korea, some denuclearization experts are skeptical.
National security adviser John Bolton, who appeared on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday, said he wouldn't comment on USA intelligence but emphasized the US will not be duped by the Kim regime, which has so often acted in bad faith.
"I don't read the way he conducted these meetings the same way", Bolton told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace.
US intelligence is not certain how many nuclear warheads North Korea has.
"There's not any starry-eyed feeling among the group doing this", he added. And with US-South Korean military exercises canceled, and Chinese and South Korean sanctions easing, the North Koreans have no immediate incentive to take that step.
The North Koreans "Don't Have any Intention of Denuclearizing".
The reports published by independent researchers and media organizations detail efforts to increase fuel production, build more missile launchers and expand a key rocket-engine manufacturing facility.