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Department Press Briefing - August 7, 2018
White House national security adviser John Bolton said that North Korea has not taken the necessary steps to denuclearize despite President Donald Trump’s patience with the communist regime. “The president is holding the door open for North Korea. He’s shown them the future they can have if they follow through on what they said in Singapore,” he told Fox News on Aug. 6. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in Singapore on June 12, where Kim reaffirmed a commitment to give up nuclear weapons. The regime has destroyed its nuclear testing site and refrained from ballistic missile tests, but multiple reports have claimed it’s still continuing its nuclear program. Bolton said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was prepared to return to North Korea for another meeting with Kim. But in a sign of Trump’s patience getting strained, Bolton prompted the regime to action. “What we really need is not more rhetoric,” he told Fox News on Aug. 7. “What we need is performance from North Korea on denuclearization.” He said the United States has lived up to the Singapore declaration, but “it’s just North Korea that has not taken the steps we feel are necessary to denuclearize.” The U.S. State Department, however, still trusts that Kim ultimately wants to denuclearize. It’s a Process “We do not believe that [Kim’s] position has changed in any way [since the Singapore declaration],” said Heather Nauert, State Department spokeswoman, during the Aug. 7 press briefing. She said the department has expected the process to take time. “We knew that this would be a road,” she said. Aug. 3 satellite images indicated that North Koreans made progress on dismantling the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, which served for testing and development of engines for ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles, reported 38North, a North Korea analysis project of the Stimson Center think-tank. Bolton said no additional Kim-Trump meeting was scheduled. The two leaders, however, have exchanged letters, Nauert said. She didn’t go into details regarding the content of Trump’s letter to Kim, which has been delivered to North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong Ho by U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting in Singapore on Aug. 4. Trump posted on Twitter one letter from Kim on July 12, where the dictator spoke of “the strong will, sincere efforts, and unique approach of myself and Your Excellency Mr. President aimed at opening up a new future between” the United States and North Korea.