National security adviser John Bolton denied a New York Times report that the U.S. was considering endorsing a North Korean nuclear freeze in the next round of negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington in a Monday tweet.
"I read this NYT story with curiosity. Neither the NSC staff nor I have discussed or heard of any desire to 'settle for a nuclear freeze by NK.' This was a reprehensible attempt by someone to box in the President. There should be consequences."
The big picture, per the Times report: A nuclear freeze would pause further weapons development in North Korea but allow it to keep existing weapons — a step back from the Trump administration's previously outlined goal of complete denuclearization.
- The administration wants to pursue denuclearization, but recognizes that talks have gone nowhere since the initial goal more than two years ago, according to the Times.
- When President Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the DMZ on Sunday, he told reporters the stalled talks between the two countries would resume but did not provide specifics.
Worth noting: Bolton wasn't on hand for Trump's historic steps into North Korea with Kim over the weekend. He was in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.