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South Korea says Bolton's memoir on Trump-Kim summit is distorted

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Accounts by former US National Security Adviser John Bolton of discussions between leaders of the United States and the two Koreas in his upcoming book are inaccurate and distorted, South Korea said on Monday.

[SEOUL] Accounts by former US National Security Adviser John Bolton of discussions between leaders of the United States and the two Koreas in his upcoming book are inaccurate and distorted, South Korea said on Monday.

Mr Bolton gives details in the book of conversations before and after three meetings between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, including how their second summit in Vietnam fell apart.

The book, "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir", is scheduled for publication on Tuesday but media outlets have released excerpts.

Reports have cited Mr Bolton as writing that Mr Moon, who is keen to improve relations with North Korea, had raised unrealistic expectations with both Mr Kim and Mr Trump for his own "unification" agenda.

"It does not reflect accurate facts and substantially distorts facts," South Korea's national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, said in a statement referring to Mr Bolton's description of top-level consultations.

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Mr Chung did not elaborate on specific areas South Korea saw as inaccurate but said the publication set a "dangerous precedent".

"Unilaterally publishing consultations made based on mutual trust violates the basic principles of diplomacy and could severely damage future negotiations," he said.

Mr Trump and Mr Kim met for the first time in Singapore in June 2018, raising hope for efforts to press North Korea to give up its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

But their second summit, in Vietnam in early 2019, collapsed when Mr Trump rejected an offer by Mr Kim to give up North Korea's main nuclear facility in return for lifting some sanctions.

Mr Bolton reportedly cites Mr Chung as relaying Mr Moon's response to the breakdown as, on the one hand, Mr Trump was right to reject Mr Kim's proposal but on the other, Mr Kim's willingness to dismantle the Yongbyon facility was a "very meaningful first step" toward "irreversible" denuclearisation.

Mr Bolton refers to Mr Moon's position as "schizophrenic".

Asked about that reference by Mr Bolton, a top official in Mr Moon's office told reporters: "Perhaps he is in that condition."

REUTERS

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