President Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton said on Monday that the administration does not feel North Korea is living up to its end of an agreement to denuclearize.
The comments from Bolton came as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been stressing the process will take time, revealing a possible split within the administration over how to handle Pyongyang.
“We’re waiting for the North Koreans to begin the process of denuclearization, which they committed to in Singapore and which they’ve not yet done,” Bolton told CNN the same day.
Bolton also stressed in the CNN interview that Trump had been willing to have a dialogue with North Korea and likened the US approach to North Korea with its pressure on Iran.
“Maximum pressure on both governments to give up their pursuit of deliverable nuclear weapons, but a willingness to talk to their leaders to see if there’s a way out,” Bolton said.
CNN reported earlier this week that North Korea was hopeful for a second summit between its leader Kim Jong Un and Trump. The news came shortly after Pompeo said he had a quick exchange with his North Korean counterpart and that the US delegation had delivered a letter from Trump to the North Koreans in response to a letter Kim had sent the US. Bolton told Fox News Tuesday morning that the US letter said Pompeo is prepared to go back to North Korea to meet with Kim Jong Un. He also said that the President “is prepared to meet at any point.”
Pompeo said last week that North Korea was “closer” to denuclearization, but that “the ultimate timeline for denuclearization will be set by Chairman Kim, at least in part.”
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Pompeo told his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong Ho that they should talk again soon and that Ri replied, “There are many productive conversations to be had.”
Pompeo’s comments came on the heels of a report from The Washington Post that officials believe new indicators showed North Korea could have been in the process of building new intercontinental ballistic missiles.
CNN’s Jeremy Diamond and Nicole Gaouette contributed to this report.