National security adviser John Bolton said Tuesday that President Donald Trump believes he should hold a second summit with Kim Jong Un because the North Korean leader hasn't lived up to commitments he made during their first meeting.
"They have not lived up to the commitments so far," Bolton said at The Wall Street Journal's annual CEO Council conference in Washington. "That's why I think the President thinks that another summit is likely to be productive."
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Bolton said the US would press ahead with a second meeting shortly after the start of the new year -- saying, "January, February" -- in the hope of making further progress. He said the Trump administration would not lift hefty economic sanctions against the regime until then.
The national security adviser's comments underscored the lack of progress the US has made in moving North Korea closer to the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization Washington is seeking, and the concessions it has been making to Pyongyang, even as Trump has stressed the warmth of his relationship with Kim.
Trump told reporters on Saturday that the summit would be held early in the year, adding that "we're getting along very well" and that "we have a good relationship with Kim." He said the two sides have talked about three sites for a potential summit.
On Tuesday, Bolton said the two sides will look at the commitments made at the June summit in Singapore and discuss how to accomplish them.
Back then, the US and North Korea committed to establish relations and work toward "peace and prosperity" on the peninsula. Pyongyang committed to work toward "complete denuclearization" and the two sides committed to recovering the remains of US soldiers missing in the Korean War.
"We're going to pursue this," Bolton said. "If the North Koreans follow through on their commitments they made in Singapore, President Trump will deserve the Nobel Peace Prize."
"He opened the door for them," Bolton added. "Now they have to walk through it. That's what we hope to make progress on at the next meeting."
Last month, Vice President Mike Pence told NBC News that the US will not require North Korea to provide a full list of its nuclear and missile sites before Trump meets again with Kim. Washington and Pyongyang had been locked in a diplomatic standoff for weeks over which side would make concessions first. Analysts said that by relaxing its demands ahead of a second summit, the US may have blinked first.
Pence spoke days after the release of new commercial satellite images identifying more than a dozen undeclared North Korean missile operating bases, another sign that Pyongyang is continuing to move forward with its ballistic missile program.
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