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As Trump-North Korea Talks Falter, South Korea Says 'Landmine' John Bolton to Blame

One American analyst reportedly said "only half in jest" that South Koreans despise Bolton as much as North Koreans do

John Bolton, national security adviser, listens during a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump and Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), not pictured, in the Oval Office of the White House May 17, 2018. (Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)

Characterizing U.S. national security adviser John Bolton as a human "landmine," a South Korean lawmaker has reportedly joined others who have made clear their belief that Bolton is the true culprit behind faltering diplomatic efforts ahead of a planned meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un next month.

"There are several land mines on the way to the summit between North Korea and the U.S. One of those land mines just exploded: John Bolton."
—Chung Dong-young, South Korean lawmaker

"There are several landmines on the way to the summit between North Korea and the U.S.," South Korean lawmaker Chung Dong-young told a Seoul-based radio show, according to the Washington Post. "One of those landmines just exploded: John Bolton."

In a Facebook post last week, Woo Sang-ho—a lawmaker in South Korean President Moon Jae-in's Democratic Party—expressed a similar view, highlighting Bolton's "preposterous" invocation of the "Libya model" as a possible guide for America's approach to nuclear talks with North Korea.

The South Korean lawmakers' comments on Bolton come as Moon is set to meet with Trump at the White House on Tuesday to help "shore up plans for a U.S.-North Korea summit that seem to be on shaky ground."

As Common Dreams reported, North Korea has condemned Bolton and his "Libya model" remarks last week as a "sinister" regime change threat in a statement last week.

"We shed light on the quality of Bolton already in the past, and we do not hide our feelings of repugnance towards him," said Kim Kye Gwan, North Korea's vice minister of foreign affairs. "We are no longer interested in a negotiation that will be all about driving us into a corner and making a one-sided demand for us to give up our nukes and this would force us to reconsider whether we would accept the North Korea-U.S. summit meeting."

Bolton has a long history of calling for both regime change and a U.S. first strike on North Korea, warmongering that led Pyongyang to call him a "bloodsucker" when he was U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

As the Washington Post's Anna Fifield notes, South Korean lawmakers and officials also "know the current 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," Fifield adds. "After meetings with top officials [in Seoul] last week, one American analyst remarked—only half in jest—that the South Koreans detested Bolton as much as the North Koreans."

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