President Trump is blaming Kim Jong Un for changing the scope of their summit talks planned for next month and will doubtless air his frustrations when he meets with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Washington on Tuesday.
But in South Korea, many say the blame for the sudden problems in the diplomatic process lies squarely at the feet of someone else: John Bolton.
“There are several land mines on the way to the summit between North Korea and the U.S.,” said Chung Dong-young, who served as unification minister during the last progressive administration and is now a lawmaker. “One of those land mines just exploded: John Bolton,” Chung told YTN Radio.
Woo Sang-ho, a lawmaker in Moon’s ruling Democratic Party, agreed. “Bolton’s preposterous ‘Libya solution’ is a red light in North Korea’s summit talks with the U.S. and South Korea,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
Officials now in senior positions in the Moon administration know the American national security adviser’s background all too well.
Many served under pro-engagement president Roh Moo-hyun, at a time when Bolton was a strong proponent inside the George W. Bush administration of the invasion of Iraq and of regime change in North Korea.
“I think a lot of people who were involved with the Roh administration are concerned about Bolton because he was such a neoconservative at the time, and it seems that he hasn’t changed,” said Lee Geun, a professor of political science at Seoul National University. “People are worried that he’s going to interfere and botch the process,” Lee said. [Continue reading…]