President Donald Trump said on Wednesday, September 11th that he is assessing five “very highly qualified” people to replace former National Security Advisor John Bolton, reported Reuters.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump said Bolton, whom he abruptly fired on Tuesday, had made some mistakes, including offending North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un by demanding that he follow a "Libyan model" and hand over all his nuclear weapons.
"There are five people that I consider very highly qualified," Trump said, without naming them. "We'll be announcing somebody next week, but we have some very highly qualified people."
Trump said that Bolton had been “out of line” while dealing with the Venezuelan issue, which is considered a major foreign policy challenge for the administration.
The names expected to succeed Bolton include Stephen Biegun, special US envoy on North Korea; Richard Grenell, US ambassador to Germany; US hostage negotiator Robert O’Brien; and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan.
On easing sanctions imposed against Iran, Trump vaguely said, “We’ll see what happens,” giving no prelude to his expected meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at this month’s UN General Assembly.
North Korea has previously called Bolton a “war maniac” and “human scum.”
Bolton was blamed for the collapse of Trump and Kim’s second summit in Vietnam in February, as he suggested using military force to oust the North Korean leader.
Analysts say that Bolton’s advice to Trump to hand Kim a piece of paper that bluntly asked for the transfer of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons to the US led to the collapse of the denuclearisation talks in Vietnam’s Hanoi.
The document effectively reprised Bolton's long-held "Libya model" of unilateral denuclearisation that North Korea has repeatedly rejected and that analysts said would have been seen by Kim as insulting and provocative.
Analysts say Bolton’s removal could help US efforts to revive the talks but will not make Washington's aim of persuading Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons any easier.