Why Is North Korea Railing Against John Bolton? They Have A Really Rough History

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter

North Korea returned to form Wednesday and lashed out at the U.S., specifically White House national security adviser John Bolton.

“We shed light on the quality of Bolton already in the past, and we do not hide our feeling of repugnance towards him,” the North Korean foreign ministry said in a statement Wednesday.

A furious North Korea banned Bolton from participating in multilateral negotiations back in 2003 after he insulted then North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, father of the country’s current leader, by calling him a “tyrannical dictator” and describing life in North Korea as “a hellish nightmare.”

“Such human scum and bloodsucker is not entitled to take part in the talks,” the North Korean foreign ministry said at the time in a statement carried by North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency. “We have decided not to consider him as an official of the U.S. administration any longer nor to deal with him.”

Bolton said in an interview with Fox News in September 2017 that the “only diplomatic option left is to end the North Korean regime.”

Then in February of this year, as North and South Korea were bonding over the Olympics, Bolton wrote an opinion article in The Wall Street Journal arguing in favor of a pre-emptive military strike on North Korea. “It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current ‘necessity’ posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons by striking first,” he asserted.

In both instances, Bolton was a private citizen, giving his rhetoric less power, but now he is the White House national security adviser, and his rhetoric is not particularly palatable for a North Korean regime concerned about its security. Since North Korea began its efforts to engage the U.S. in diplomacy, Bolton has called them liars and set extraordinarily high expectations for the coming meeting, leading some observers to conclude that Bolton is intentionally trying to tank the meeting.

North Korea’s critical statement Wednesday called attention to one of Bolton’s more recent statements, a shocking suggestion that the U.S. envisioned the Libya model for North Korean denuclearization. After Libya forfeited its nuclear program, the country’s leader, Muammar Gaddafi, was violently overthrown by Western-backed rebels and brutally executed. North Korea has long cited Gaddafi’s fate as justification for its nuclear program. (RELATED: Bolton: US Expects North Korean Denuclearization To Go Down The Way It Did In Libya)

“It is essentially a manifestation of an awfully sinister move to impose on our dignified state the destiny of Libya or Iraq, which had been brought down due to yielding the whole of their countries to big powers,” North Korea argued Wednesday, adding, “The world knows too well that our country is neither Libya nor Iraq which have met miserable fates.”

“If the Trump administration fails to recall the lessons learned from the past, the prospects of the forthcoming DPRK-U.S. summit and overall DPRK-US relations will be crystal clear,”  Pyongyang warned in its statement.

In the wake of North Korea’s rant, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders suggested that Bolton might have spoken out of turn when he said told reporters that the administration is considering the Libya model. “I haven’t seen that as part of any discussions, so I’m not aware that that’s a model that we’re using,” Sanders explained Wednesday.

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