North Korea’s New Olive Branch

Should we believe the latest overture by North Korea through South Korea that Kim Jong-un is open to disbanding his nuclear weapons program? Has the DC press corps’ love affair with Kim Jong Un’s sister made them forget the last 25 years of North Korean propaganda? Former US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton joins Dan and Amy to discuss.

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Proft: Good morning, Dan and Amy. We're coming to you from Charles Equipment Energy Systems, our friends here in Des Plaines, part of our AM560/Signature Bank Business Tour, and it's always fun to be here. They're in the business of providing energy solutions, big-time energy solutions. They've been responsive in hurricanes, for example, where the power is out, they're the ones who bring the huge generators down to... Jacobson: Yeah, they have generators the size of semi trucks that they bring down to help people...well, to give them electricity, so that they can clean up the area, and eat, and just...survive. Proft: So, we're talking about big energy solutions here, and we'll be talking to the gentlemen who operate this company...one of whom is an excellent cook. Jacobson: Oh yeah, Mike? You can say his name, man. Proft: And he's a bit of a character, too. We'll be talking to him at the bottom of the 7 o'clock hour so you want to stay tuned for that. Yesterday, Jeanne Ives...so we talked about this show, both with Jeanne Ives and Alderman Napolitano, Anthony Napolitano of the 41st Ward, far Northwest side there, the Edison Park area. They held a joint press conference yesterday to talk about that City Key ID that has made national news, we've talked about it on this show, when your Alderman, Amy, Ameya Pawar was on Tucker Carlson, and got his lunch handed to him? (Jacobson: Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah.) So, Jeanne Ives and Napolitano doing a joint presser in their shared interest to not allow this ID that "Tiny Dancer" has concocted to be used as a form of identification for the purposes of voter registration for people who are in this country illegally. Jacobson: That's ALL it's used for. On the...Ameya Pawar said "Well, then I could take the train with it too." Well, what does that mean? No, you need a Venture card to take the train. Proft: Well, the point is if you want to use this new ID card to check out a library book or to get a Venture card, FINE. The only issue, and this was finely tailored, the legislation that Ives has filed, is it cannot be used for voter registration, cannot be used for voter registration. And we'll pick up that discussion in a little bit, but here right now we have our friend Ambassador John Bolton joining us. John Bolton, former United States Ambassador to the UN joins us now, and the timing couldn't be better because there's some breaking news. The New York Times reporting that Kim Jong-un saying that North Korea is willing to start talks with the US on giving up its nuclear weapons according to South Korea, per their little confab in Pyongyang... Jacobson: Pyongchang...PF Chang's... Proft: Pyeongchang in North Korea. Not ABC News version. Recently, and so let's get more insight on that from Ambassador Bolton, thanks for joining us Ambassador Bolton, appreciate it. Bolton: Well, glad to be with you, thanks for having me. Proft: So, do you...how much stock do you put in this New York Times report about what the South Koreans are saying, or is this just Kim Jong-un trying to manipulate and propagandize? Bolton: Look, this is the umptiumpth offer by North Korea to talk about giving up their nuclear weapons, we've been doing this for 25 years. The North Koreans have pledged in written international agreements four times during that period to give up nuclear weapons, they've lied about it every time. So I'd like to say, when you've tried something for 25 years and failed, what makes you think in year 26 it's going to be any different? Now, why are the North Koreans doing it now? I think precisely because they are so close, after 25 years of trying, to being able to deliver nuclear weapons on target in the United States. CIA director Mike Pompeo said a few weeks ago that he thought that they could master all the complexities that were necessary to do that "within a handful of months", HIS phrase, "a handful of months". So I think talking now, talking about a freeze on testing and,you know, maybe just freeze the American and South Korean military maneuvers that were postponed because of the Olympics and we'll just talk about it, and at the end of six months, the North Koreans will have deliverable nuclear weapons if we fall for it. Jacobson: So you think this is all just a cat-and-mouse game? Bolton: Yeah, I think this is all just a little diversion. "Isn't it exciting to talk to North Korea?" Honestly, it's when you've talked to them so many times in the last 25 years that it's hard to keep count, again somebody has to provide some compelling evidence of why talking to them now will make a difference. And what I fear is that next people say "What an amazing breakthrough!" as if they've forgotten the last 25 years of history, the news media are very good at that, they have short attention spans. But people say "Well, we have to help create the proper atmosphere, and we need to prime the pump a little bit, and we need to show good faith." All of which is code language for "make some concessions". Which the North Koreans would happily put in their pocket, as they have since going back to the Korean War Armistice negotiations in 1953, that's the way they negotiate. So, the Trump Administration has said previously they are happy to talk to North Korea, but we won't let up any of the pressure on North Korea. I think that's the absolute minimum, the pressure needs to be increased as they get closer to achieving their objective but I have no doubt that in parts of the State Department they're breaking out the champagne saying "Great! Let's head to Beijing for more talks and let's keep the party going!" That's a way of GUARANTEEING that North Korea gets deliverable nuclear weapons, which by the way they will be HAPPY to sell to anybody with the right amount of money. Proft: And also, too...I mean a part of this is the DC Press Corps' love affair with Kim Jong-un's sister, the Gold medalist in diplomacy at the Pyeongchang Games according to the DC Press Corps, his propaganda minister and sister. And I just wonder if North Korea is seizing on all of that goodwill foisted upon North Korea through his sister to then bring the South Koreans in, and make it look like there's some reproach ma (?), and as you say the entire thing, including as it pertains to South Korea, is diversionary. Bolton: Yeah, as we saw, there's a new diplomatic first here. Kim Jong-un met with representatives of South Korea. Well, big deal! His father met with representatives of South Korea on more occasions, I think, than we can count. We know that South Korea funded North Korea's participation in the Olympic Games, it's another way...the North Koreans are the best grifters and tadgers...I mean they make Wimpy and his offer, you know "How about a hamburger today, and I'll pay you tomorrow?", they make him look like a piker. And there's just more of this coming, you can see it. It's very...it's very dangerous, and nobody should be deceived by it, but I'm sure the usual suspects will be deceived by it. Jacobson: Well, besides talking, they also set up a hotline where they can talk, you know President Moon and Kim Jong-un, they can speak freely and directly to each other. And then there's this April summit, that's going to be held, you know, on the South Korean side of the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two countries. And do you think President Trump will soon get involved in this? Do you think there will actually ever be talks between Kim Jong-un and President Trump? Bolton: Well, I don't think there SHOULD be. Because I think simply the presence of the American president in the same room as Kim Jong-un gives him legitimacy that is beyond calculation and value. I really think this whole thing is just to tap for our attention while they're putting the last touches on their ballistic missiles and their thermonuclear warheads, as I said, Mike Pompeo thinks it will only take a handful of months. I don't know EXACTLY what that means, of course, but it sounds like before the end of this year, absent sabotage or other steps that might slow it down. So you know, it's just hard to credit that after 25 years or so of trying, the North Koreans have come within a handful of months, and then decided to say "Oh you know, we weren't THAT serious. We're prepared to give it up right now!" It's just...it doesn't wash, but there are lots of people looking for bridges to buy on the cheap, and I'm sure we're gonna hear from them in the next few days. Proft: I want to get your take on some of the developments in the whole Bob Mueller Special Counsel investigation, Russian collusion, and everything under that umbrella. Not just Sam Nunberg's bizarre day on the cable TV news networks, but also this story about the Australian diplomat that provided the FBI with the information that launched the FBI's Russia probe. The infamous conversation over cocktails with George Papadopoulus, this guy Alexander Downer, who's now the Australian ambassador to London...he also... Bolton: Right. I know Alexander Downer. He is a friend to the United States, whether he was a member of (?)...the administration, the conservative administration in the early part of the Bush administration. But whether he wholly understood what he was doing, whether it was others in the Australian government that really moved this along, I don't know. But yeah, it's really just another example of the reach of the Clinton Foundation, and why we're still looking at the tip of the iceberg here in terms of the information you have on so many of these fronts. So yeah, there's more here to look at, there's no doubt about that. Proft: Yeah, I mean you're talking about a $25M donation, that he apparently helped arrange, from Australia to the Clinton Foundation to support screening and medication to AIDS patients in Asia, that was back in 2006, but it's still something to kind of factor in, kind of in the interest of full disclosure and context. And I also wonder about what you...how you interpreted what Intel Chairman Nunes said the other day, that the person who was sharing or getting information from Russia was the...or the organization was the Clinton campaign. Bolton: Yeah, this is obviously tied to Nunes and (?). I've seen information that's not public, and I think it's entirely consistent with the argument that many in the Intelligence community have made, that the Russians were trying to sow distrust and erode faith in our public institutions, and even Mueller's indictment, that's only a piece of the puzzle, that's for sure. But, it tells that the Russians were prepared to help all kinds of candidates, even Bernie Sanders, and...the Green Party candidate, in an effort I think to cause confusion in the American electorate. So if they thought they could attract the Clinton campaign, I have no doubt they'd be prepared to try. There was certainly no principle reason for them not to. Proft: He is John Bolton, the former United States Ambassador to the UN. Ambassador Bolton, thanks as always for joining us, appreciate your time. Bolton: Thanks again for having me.

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