Sanctions on NKorea to continue: WH

Washington, Mar 9: The Trump administration's policy of imposing sanctions on North Korea has worked and will continue until the goal of complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula is achieved, a senior White House official has said.

Trump imposed the "heaviest-ever" sanctions on North Korea's shipping companies last month in a bid to prevent the reclusive nation from acquiring nuclear weapons and developing intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The administration believes the sanctions must remain as it "is really what differentiates, the President's policy from the policies of the past," the official told reporters yesterday.

"If we look at the history of these negotiations that took place under prior administrations, the relinquishing of pressure have often lead to concessions being made to North Korea in return for talks," the official said on the condition of anonymity.

The official said that Trump had been very clear from the beginning that he was not prepared to reward North Korea in exchange for talks.

"But he is willing to accept an invitation at this time to meet and really expects North Korea to start putting action to the words that were conveyed via the South Koreans," the official said.

The official, however, said there was no letter from Kim regarding the timing of the meeting of the two leaders.

"There was not a letter. This was a message conveyed orally by Kim Jong-un to the National Security Adviser of the South Korea during the several hours of meetings that they held a couple days ago in Pyongyang. Ambassador Chung, who is the National Security Adviser then conveyed it orally to the president today in the Oval Office," the official said.

Details of the place and timing of the meeting are yet to be worked out, the official said.

Ever since he came into office, Trump has emphasised that the urgent matter of denuclearising North Korea was something that required a new approach, the official said.

"It would require us avoiding the mistakes that have been made over the past 27 years of dialogue, and failed approaches to denuclearise North Korea," another senior administration official said.