As President Donald Trump hails progress, a source familiar with details of the high-profile visit of North Korea’s top negotiator this month says those discussions, which were at both the State Department level and with the White House “got nowhere” on denuclearization, CNN informs.
“North Korea relationship is best it has ever been with U.S. No testing, getting remains, hostages returned. Decent chance of Denuclearization,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.
Trump made his declaration a day after Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told members of Congress that North Korea “is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons.” Coats’ assertion of progress also comes less than two weeks after the White House and State Department held talks with North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol.
One source familiar with those talks said that the discussions focused entirely on the planning of the next summit between Trump and Kim Jong-un, with the North Korean leader still refusing to yield anything until he gets a major commitment from the Americans, namely a peace agreement to formally end the Korean War.
The White House announced the summit, which they said would take place “near the end of February,” after Trump met with Kim Yong Chol for nearly an hour and a half in the Oval Office. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said at the time that denuclearization had come up in that meeting.
According to CNN, despite outward votes of confidence, a source said that national security adviser John Bolton seemed to acknowledge behind closed doors that he expected the lack of progress on denuclearization negotiations. Another source close to the negotiations said that there isn’t anyone naïve enough in the U.S. government to believe that the North Koreans would give up their nuclear program all at once.