(CNSNews.com) – The White House said Friday that the planned meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un will not take place until the administration sees “concrete actions that match the words and the rhetoric of North Korea.”
When asked whether Trump thinks that the North Korean leader is sincere about talking about denuclearization, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “The president is hopeful that we can make some continued progress. Look, what we know is that the maximum pressure campaign has clearly been effective.
“We know that it has put a tremendous amount of pressure on North Korea, and they have made some major promises. They’ve made promises to denuclearize. They’ve made promises to stop nuclear and missile testing, and they’ve recognized that regular military exercises between the U.S. and its ally, South Korea, will continue,” she said.
“The maximum pressure campaign, we’re not letting up. We’re not going to step back or make any changes to that. We’re going to continue in that effort, and we’re not going to have this meeting take place until we see concrete actions that match the words and the rhetoric of North Korea,” Sanders said.
When asked if Trump thinks Kim Jong Un can be trusted as a negotiating partner, Sanders said, “Look, we’re not in the negotiation right now. We’ve accepted the invitation to talk, based on them following through with concrete actions on the promises that they’ve made.”
When asked why Trump accepted North Korea’s invitation without preconditions, Sanders said the administration is advocating and pushing for the North Koreans to release the three Americans being held in North Korea.
“But let’s not forget that the North Koreans did promise something: They’ve promised to denuclearize. They’ve promised to stop nuclear and missile testing, and they’ve recognized that we’re going to continue in our military exercises,” the press secretary said.
“Let’s be very clear: The United States has made zero concessions, but North Korea has made some promises, and, again, this meeting won’t take place without concrete actions that match the promises that have been made by North Korea,” she said.
As CNSNews.com previously reported, South Korea’s National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong told reporters after briefing Trump at the White House earlier that during talks in Pyongyang this week, Kim Jong-un had “expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible.”
“President Trump appreciated the briefing and said he would meet Kim Jong-un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization,” Chung said.
When asked whether a two-month period is enough time to ensure that North Korea will fulfill those promises, Sanders said, “Look, we’re working on the determination of the time, but let’s not be lost in the fact that this didn’t happen overnight. This maximum pressure campaign and this process has been ongoing since the president first took office.
“For the first time in a long time, the United States is actually having conversations from a position of strength, not a position of weakness, like the one that North Korea finds itself in due to the maximum pressure campaign,” she said.
Asked whether that means the meeting may not take place by May, Sanders said, “Again, we haven’t set a time or a location. Those things have yet to be determined.