White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday that President Donald Trump is open to another meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un despite national security adviser John Bolton’s assertion that the US is still waiting for Pyongyang to take steps toward denuclearization.
Trump has received another letter from Kim, which Sanders described Monday as “very warm” and “very positive,” noting that the White House will not release the letter unless Kim agrees.
The primary intent of the letter, she said at Monday’s briefing, was to “request and look to schedule another meeting” between the two leaders, something the White House is “open to.”
She said that the White House is “already in the process of coordinating” another meeting, but declined to provide further details on a time or location.
She cited the letter as “further evidence of progress” toward denuclearization, noting that the latest parade was “not about their nuclear arsenal.”
The letter, she said, showed a “commitment to continuing conversations.”
Sanders’ comments came hours after Bolton said Trump has “tried to hold the door open” for Kim to denuclearize, but the US is still waiting on Pyongyang to take those steps.
“President Trump tried to hold the door open to Kim Jong Un and his regime if they would denuclearize,” Bolton said, adding “but President Trump can’t make the North Koreans walk through the door he is holding open. They are the ones that have to take the steps to denuclearize and that is what we are waiting for.”
According to Bolton, Kim told South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April that he could denuclearize North Korea “in one year.” Bolton also noted Monday that he “thought they could do it even more quickly.”
Last week, Bolton spoke with his South Korean counterpart, National Security Office director Chung Eui-yong and received a “comprehensive report of Ambassador Chung’s September 5 visit to Pyongyang.”
South Korean officials also said last week that Kim has “unwavering trust for President Trump” and wants to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula before the US leader finishes his term.
“This trust, despite some difficulties surfaced during the negotiation process between the US and the North, will continue,” said South Korean special envoy Chung Eun-yong, who met with Kim in Pyongyang on Wednesday.
Over the weekend, North Korea celebrated its national day with a series of massive spectacles glorifying 70 years of rule by the Kim dynasty Sunday, but held back on any mention of its nuclear weapons program — a possible signal of support for Pyongyang’s ongoing negotiations with the United States.