Former ambassador to South Korea Thomas Hubbard speaks out on John Bolton.
Hubbard told a reporter that Bolton berated him for failing two years ago to arrange a meeting with the president-elect of South Korea, Roh Moo-Hyun.
“He hung up on me,” Hubbard said. “He was very angry.”
Also, Hubbard said, Bolton refused to attend a dinner the ambassador had arranged with senior South Koreans. “It was undiplomatic behavior,” he said.
Hubbard challenged Bolton’s testimony to the committee that he had praised Bolton for a speech that year denouncing Kim Jong Il, the leader of North Korea, as a “tyrannical dictator.”
Hubbard said he had advised Bolton against making the speech, which prompted North Korea to denounce Bolton as a “bloodsucker” and complicated already difficult negotiations on Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.
“I asked Bolton to tone the speech down,” Hubbard said. The undersecretary of state, who is the senior international security official in the State Department, agreed to make some changes but went ahead with his denunciation of the “Dear Leader,” Hubbard said.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Jesus H. Frist indicates that even the GOP leadership in the Senate is divided over Bolton’s nomination.
Reflecting slipping Republican support — three Republicans on the committee appear to be fence-sitters — Majority Leader Bill Frist said he strongly supports Bolton but admitted “I can’t speak for all of leadership” of the Senate GOP.