Trump national security adviser makes remark as US president heads to Japan for talks on nuclear issue
The US national security adviser, John Bolton, has said North Korea’s recent missile tests violated UN security council resolutions, the first time a senior US official has made such a statement.
“The UN resolution prohibits the launch of any ballistic missiles,” Bolton said on Saturday. North Korea’s test firings included short-range ballistic missiles and so there was “no doubt” it was a violation, he added, urging its leader, Kim Jong-un, to return to denuclearisation talks.
Bolton’s remarks come on the eve of a four-day visit to Japan by the US president, Donald Trump, who arrives on Saturday.
Earlier this month, Kim oversaw the first flight of a previously untested weapon – a relatively small, fast missile experts believe will be easier to hide, launch and manoeuvre in flight.
Bolton said the US was still open to talks with Kim’s regime but that it had not changed its position from the one outlined at the summit in Hanoi. “Trump has held the door open for Kim, the next step is for Kim to walk through it,” he said.
Bolton also urged Kim to agree to a meeting with the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, which he said could help restart dialogue on North Korea’s weapons programmes.
An Abe-Kim summit “could be substantive assistance to that”, he said.
Trump, who will play golf with Abe on Sunday before watching sumo wrestling, is expected to discuss topics ranging from North Korea to China and two-way trade when they sit down for a summit on Monday.
The two leaders will also discuss rising tensions with Iran, Bolton said. Abe is considering a visit to Iran as early as mid-June, Japanese public broadcaster NHK said on Friday, the first such trip in four decades.
Washington has said it will stop waivers for countries buying Iranian oil and has designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organisation.
The US is also deploying a carrier strike group and bombers to the Middle East in response to what the Trump administration described as troubling “indications and warnings” from Iran.
Bolton, who has spearheaded an increasingly hawkish US policy on Iran, described recent attacks on tankers off the United Arab Emirates and a pipeline pumping station in Saudi Arabia, as well as a rocket attack in Baghdad’s Green Zone in Iraq, as “manifestations of concern”.
The US has “deep and serious” intelligence on the threat posed by Iran, said Bolton, who declined to provide details.