On the day that their talks in Hanoi collapsed last month, U.S. President Donald Trump handed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un a piece of paper that included a blunt call for the transfer of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and bomb fuel to the United States, according to the document.
Mr. Trump gave Mr. Kim both Korean and English-language versions of the U.S. position at Hanoi’s Metropole hotel on February 28, according to a source familiar with the discussions. It was the first time that Mr. Trump himself had explicitly defined what he meant by denuclearisation directly to Mr. Kim, the source said. A lunch between the two leaders was cancelled the same day. While neither side has presented a complete account of why the summit collapsed, the document may help explain it.
The document’s existence was first mentioned by White House National Security Adviser John Bolton in television interviews he gave after the two-day summit. Mr. Bolton did not disclose in those interviews the pivotal U.S. expectation contained in the document that North Korea should transfer its nuclear weapons and fissile material to the United States.
The document appeared to represent Mr. Bolton’s long-held and hard-line “Libya model” of denuclearisation that North Korea has rejected repeatedly. It probably would have been seen by Mr. Kim as insulting and provocative, analysts said. Mr. Trump had previously distanced himself in public comments from Mr. Bolton’s approach and said a “Libya model” would be employed only if a deal could not be reached. The idea of North Korea handing over its weapons was first proposed by Mr. Bolton in 2004. He revived the proposal last year when Mr. Trump named him as National Security Adviser.
The document was meant to provide the North Koreans with a clear and concise definition of what the United States meant by ”final, fully verifiable, denuclearisation,” the source familiar with discussions said.
After the summit, a North Korean official accused Mr. Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of “gangster-like” demands, saying Pyongyang was considering suspending talks with the United States and may rethink its self-imposed ban on missile and nuclear tests. The English version of the document called for “fully dismantling North Korea’s nuclear infrastructure, chemical and biological warfare programme and related dual-use capabilities; and ballistic missiles, launchers, and associated facilities.”
Aside from the call for the transfer of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and bomb fuel, the document had four other key points.
It called on North Korea to provide a comprehensive declaration of its nuclear programme and full access to U.S. and international inspectors; to halt all related activities and construction of any new facilities; to eliminate all nuclear infrastructure; and to transition all nuclear programme scientists and technicians to commercial activities.