It, however, maintained that the time and place for the meeting has not been determined, a day after Trump said he has agreed to meet Kim by May, setting the stage for a historic summit between the two leaders who have repeatedly traded insults amid spiralling tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes.
“This meeting would not take place without concrete actions that match the promises made by North Korea,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at her daily news conference, adding that the time and place for the meeting is yet to be determined.
Sanders reiterated that the Trump administration will continue with its “maximum pressure” campaign on Pyongyang. Trump has had a series of telephonic conversations with a number of world leaders, who have been involved with the US on the North Korean issue. Sanders said the US has accepted the invitation to talk based on the commitment made by North Korea.
“We are making no concessions. We are not going to move forward until we see concrete and verifiable actions from North Korea,” she said. The President, she said, is committed to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
“The US is speaking from a position of strength and North Korea is on a weak wicket,” Sanders added.
Earlier in the day, US Vice President Mike Pence said that North Korea’s desire to meet to discuss denuclearization – while suspending all ballistic missile and nuclear testing – is evidence that President Trump’s strategy to isolate the Kim regime is working.
“The North Koreans are coming to the table despite the United States making zero concessions and, in close coordination with our allies, we have consistently increased the pressure on the Kim regime,” he said.
“Our resolve is undeterred and our policy remains the same: all sanctions remain in place and the maximum pressure campaign will continue until North Korea takes concrete, permanent, and verifiable steps to end their nuclear program,” Pence said.
Sanders said Trump is hopeful that the US 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,” she said.
“They have made some major promises. They’ve made promises to denuclearize. They’ve made promises to stop nuclear and missile testing. They have recognised that regular military exercises between the US and its ally, South Korea, will continue. The maximum-pressure campaign, we’re not letting up,” she said.