by WorldTribune Staff, April 25, 2018
Though he “hopes we are entering a new era with North Korea,” Paul Wolfowitz, former U.S. deputy defense secretary, said he remains skeptical the Kim Jong-Un regime will follow through with its pledge of denuclearization.
Wolfowitz, who served as deputy defense secretary from 2001-2005, also said it will be necessary to intensify sanctions on Pyongyang if the South Korea and U.S. summits with North Korea do not produce satisfactory results.
“Count me as skeptical. We heard announcements like that before,” he said during an April 25 press meeting in Seoul, responding to the North’s announcement that it would stop nuclear tests and shut down a nuclear test site.
“This one is different in one respect as far as I am aware. I think it’s the first time that they said that they are doing this … kind of freeze,” Wolfowitz said. “But that’s because, we (North Korea) have already finished the program and are ready to go. I mean that’s not exactly encouraging.”
Wolfowitz added: “I have great doubt whether the North Korean regime is gonna give up the ultimate weapon after it has gone through such great efforts to acquire it. We have a very dubious record from the past in terms of North Korea making agreements which they don’t take seriously.”
Additionally, sanctions should be readily imposed on the North if the summits fail, Wolfowitz said.
“I think it would be a big mistake to relax sanctions on North Korea simply for very vague promises about doing something in the future.”
Wolfowitz added: “There is a certain lesson to be drawn from nuclear negotiations with Iran where I believe we got so focused on nuclear weapons that we forgot about everything else, including conventional weapons, including fundamental violations of human rights in Iran. I believe we have been doing the same thing in North Korea now for 25 years. There are other issues in North Korea.”