The United States is “not willing to wait for too long” for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, according to Washington’s ambassador to the United Nations.
Speaking with reporters Wednesday, Nikki Haley was pressed on how long the U.S. was willing to wait for the North to take steps towards denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.
“We’re willing to wait, if they want to wait, but we are not willing to wait for too long,” the UN ambassador said. “We’re willing to be patient in what their demands may be but they have to understand the end the result is the same. That’s never going to change.”
Haley’s comments come a day after U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, said North Korea has not taken steps towards denuclearizing the Korean peninsula despite an agreement between the president and Kim Jong Un.
“It’s the performance we need from North Korea,” Bolton told Fox News on Tuesday. “It’s just North Korea that has not taken the steps we feel necessary to denuclearize.”
On Monday, North Korean state media urged the U.S. to drop sanctions after the country demonstrated good faith by ending nuclear weapons testing and returning the remains of U.S. troops killed in the 1950-53 Korean War.
“The idea that we are going to relax the sanctions just on North Korea’s say-so isn’t under consideration,” Bolton said. “We are going to continue to apply maximum pressure to North Korea until they denuclearize just as we are to Iran.”
Following a historic meeting between Trump and Kim in June, the U.S. president had said the North was “no longer a nuclear threat” and that the two leaders were working towards the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. The pledge was short on the specifics, including a detailed timeline of the process.
Last week, U.S. spy satellites detected renewed activity at the North Korean factory that produced the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States, a senior U.S. official told Reuters.
Photos and infrared imaging indicated vehicles moving in and out of the facility at Sanumdong, but did not show how advanced any missile construction might be, the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity because the intelligence is classified.
The UN ambassador said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had delivered “solid” U.S. demands to North Korea and that Washington would not weaken those or ease sanctions on Pyongyang.
“We are not going to weaken the ask, and we are not going to weaken the sanctions,” Haley said. “This is all in North Korea’s court.”
Last week, Trump thanked Kim “for keeping your word” and sending home the remains of U.S. soldiers. The president also said he received a new letter from the North Korean dictator and hinted at a possible meeting between the two.
“I am not at all surprised that you took this kind action. Also, thank you for your nice letter – l look forward to seeing you soon!” Trump tweeted.
Bolton told Fox News there were no plans in place for a meeting between the two leaders, but said Trump was “prepared to meet at any point.”
“But what we really need is not more rhetoric, what we need is performance from North Korea on denuclearization,” the security adviser said.
–with a file from Reuters