Trump says Bolton a ‘disaster’ on North Korea, ‘out of line’ on Venezuela

Donald Trump listens as his national security adviser John Bolton speaks at the White House in February. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 11 September 2019

Trump says Bolton a ‘disaster’ on North Korea, ‘out of line’ on Venezuela

  • Trump said Bolton had made mistakes, including offending North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un
  • “I thought he was way out of line and I think I’ve proven to be right” the president said

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that John Bolton, dismissed a day earlier as national security adviser, had been a “disaster” on North Korea policy, “out of line” on Venezuela, and did not get along with important administration officials.
Trump said Bolton had made mistakes, including offending North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un by demanding that he follow a “Libyan model” and hand over all his nuclear weapons.
“We were set back very badly when John Bolton talked about the Libyan model ... what a disaster,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
“He’s using that to make a deal with North Korea? And I don’t blame Kim Jong Un for what he said after that, and he wanted nothing to do with John Bolton. And that’s not a question of being tough. That’s a question of being not smart to say something like that.”
Trump also said he disagreed with Bolton on Venezuela but offered no specifics. “I thought he was way out of line and I think I’ve proven to be right,” the president said.
Trump said Bolton, with his abrasive, hard-line approach, “wasn’t getting along with people in the administration that I consider very important.”
“John wasn’t in line with what we were doing,” he added.
Trump said he got along with Bolton and hoped they parted on good terms, but added: “Maybe we have and maybe we haven’t. I have to run the country the way we’re running the country.”
Trump had been growing more impatient with the failure to oust socialist Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro through a US-led campaign of sanctions and diplomacy in which Bolton was a driving force.
Bolton was also a chief architect of the Trump administration’s hard-line policy on Iran.
Asked whether he would consider easing sanctions on Iran to secure a meeting with its leader President Hassan Rouhani at this month’s UN General Assembly, Trump replied: “We’ll see what happens.” Bolton had opposed such a step.
North Korea has denounced Bolton as a “war maniac” and “human scum.” Last year, it threatened to call off a first summit between Kim and Trump after Bolton suggested the Libya model of unilateral disarmament. In the past Bolton had proposed using military force to overthrow the country’s ruling dynasty.
Trump’s efforts to engage with North Korea nearly fell apart altogether in February after he followed Bolton’s advice at a second summit in Hanoi and handed Kim a piece of paper that called for the transfer of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and bomb fuel to the United States.
Trump announced he had fired Bolton a day after North Korea signaled a new willingness to resume stalled denuclearization talks, but it then proceeded with the latest in a spate of missile test launches.
Analysts say Bolton’s removal could help US efforts to revive the talks but will not make it easier for Washington to persuade Pyongyang to give up nuclear weapons.
Washington has given no indication so far that it will soften its demand for North Korea’s ultimate denuclearization, even though with Bolton gone, the risky all-or-nothing gambit is unlikely to be repeated so bluntly.
“This change in personnel could carve out some space for new approaches or thinking about what defines success and how to achieve it,” said Jenny Town at 38 North, a Washington-based North Korea project. “Whether it actually does or whether Bolton’s view was more deeply entrenched in US thinking on this matter is yet to be seen.”


Indian officials warn of lockdown extensions as COVID-19 cases in South Asia near 6,000

Updated 04 April 2020

Indian officials warn of lockdown extensions as COVID-19 cases in South Asia near 6,000

  • Modi said this week the country will pull out of the planned three-week lockdown in a phased manner
  • India has been hardest hit by the disease in South Asia with some 2,902 cases, of which 68 have died

MUMBAI: The number of confirmed new coronavirus cases in South Asia neared 6,000 on Saturday, even as authorities in some cities tightened restrictions on movement and warned lockdowns could be extended in a bid to rein in the pandemic.
“If people don’t obey the rules seriously and cases continue to rise, then there may be no option but to extend the lockdown,” Rajesh Tope, the health minister of Maharashtra state which includes the financial hub Mumbai, told Reuters. “It could be extended in Mumbai and urban areas of Maharashtra by two weeks.”
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said this week the country will pull out of the planned three-week lockdown in a phased manner. India has been hardest hit by the disease in South Asia with some 2,902 cases, of which 68 have died.
Maharashtra has 516 confirmed cases of COVID-19 — the disease caused by the coronavirus — and 26 people have died.
While the government does plan to review the lockdown, set to end on April 14, three senior officials told Reuters this will depend on an assessment of the situation in each state, and lockdowns and restrictions would be extended in districts where the coronavirus case spread has continued.
Public transport in large metros such as Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi, may only be restored in a phased manner days after the lockdown ends, said the officials, who asked not to be named as the plans were still under discussion.
Restrictions tightened
The number of COVID-19 cases have more than doubled in South Asia in the last week. Health experts warn an epidemic in the region, home to a fifth of the world’s population, could overwhelm its already weak public health systems.
But Muslim-majority Pakistan and Bangladesh, and India, home to the world’s largest Muslim minority, have struggled to convince conservative religious groups to maintain social distancing.
On Friday, Pakistani Muslims at a Karachi mosque clashed with baton-wielding police trying to enforce new curbs on gatherings to prevent Friday prayers and contain coronavirus infections, officials said.
This came after the government in the southern province of Sindh, home to the financial hub of Karachi, enforced a three-hour curfew on Friday afternoon, in a bid to persuade Muslim worshippers to pray at home.
Pakistan has so far reported 2,547 coronavirus infections, fueled by a jump in cases related to members of the Tablighi Jamaat, an orthodox Muslim proselytising group.

Following is data on the spread of the coronavirus in South Asia, according to government figures:

* India has registered 2,902 cases, including 68 deaths.
* Pakistan has registered 2,547 cases, including 37 deaths.
* Afghanistan has registered 281 cases, including 6 deaths.
* Sri Lanka has registered 159 cases, including 5 deaths.
* Bangladesh has registered 61 cases, including six deaths.
* Maldives has registered 32 cases and no deaths.
* Nepal has registered six cases and no deaths.
* Bhutan has registered five cases and no deaths.