Seoul says Bolton's Trump-Kim narrative 'distorted'

US President Donald Trump (left) with National Security Adviser John Bolton in New York on Sept 24, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SEOUL (AFP) - South Korea's presidential office on Monday (June 22) accused former United States national security adviser John Bolton of distorting facts and jeopardising future negotiations with his scathing account of President Donald Trump's North Korea summit strategy.

Mr Bolton's forthcoming memoir The Room Where it Happened takes both Mr Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in to task for their handling of a series of historic meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un beginning in 2018.

Mr Chung Eui-yong, Mr Moon's security adviser - who first told Mr Trump that Mr Kim wanted to meet, and appears repeatedly in the book - said it "does not convey accurate facts and a large chunk of it distorts facts a great deal".

He did not cite specifics.

But he said that disclosing details about the bilateral nuclear negotiations "violates basic diplomatic principles and would seriously undermine interest in future talks" by all sides.

The presidential Blue House issued a separate statement, saying: "It is inappropriate to distort facts with prejudice and bias."

In the book, Mr Bolton says Mr Trump was not prepared for his first summit with Mr Kim in Singapore, but expected it to be "great theatre".

He also criticises Mr Moon, saying the "whole diplomatic fandango was South Korea's creation, relating more to its 'unification' agenda than serious strategy on Kim's part or ours".

"The South's understanding of our terms to denuclearise North Korea bore no relationship to fundamental US national interests," Mr Bolton writes.

He describes Mr Moon's view on one issue as "nonsense" and "schizophrenic ".

Asked on Monday about Mr Bolton's description of Mr Moon as "schizophrenic", a South Korean presidential official responded: "It is an issue Bolton has to judge for himself. I think he might be one".

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