UPDATED 9:18 AM PT — Wednesday, March 6, 2019
The U.S. is issuing renewed threats to increase sanctions on North Korea if Pyongyang fails to eliminate its nuclear program.
During an interview on Tuesday, National Security Advisor John Bolton warned if North Korea is not committed to fully ending its program then President Trump will take necessary action. Additionally, two U.S. senators have proposed a motion, dubbed the ‘Brink Act,’ which would impose additional sanctions on any bank that does business with the North Korean government.
The threats come as new satellite images appear to show North Korea rebuilding a partially dismantled long-range missile site. Experts have said the images suggest a launch pad is under construction, but no missiles are in range. The rebuilding reportedly occurred sometime between mid-February and the beginning of March, but there is little evidence to suggest a new test is imminent.
On the other hand, this brings into question if the Korean Peninsula is really committed to denuclearization, which could challenge hopes of a potential third summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un.
Bolton and other administration officials have continued to reiterate the president’s stance on North Korea despite the two sides failing to a reach a consensus last week in Vietnam.
“The possibility was there for North Korea to make a big deal with us to do complete denuclearization in exchange for the potential for a very bright economic future,” said Bolton. “The president wanted to make that big deal, he pushed very hard for it — the North Koreans were not willing.”
This week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered hopes of sending a U.S. delegation to North Korea as the president would like to continue to keep an open dialogue between the White House and Pyongyang.
However, the president is continuing to advocate for a hard line approach with North Korea, assuring the only way sanctions will be eased is if they completely dismantle their nuclear program and all that comes with it.