(CNN)As President Donald Trump hails "progress being made," a source familiar with details of the high-profile visit of North Korea's top negotiator this month says those discussions -- at both the State Department level and with the White House -- "got nowhere" on denuclearization. A second source agreed with that assessment.
Talks with North Korea's top negotiator 'got nowhere' on denuclearization, sources say
"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. "Time will tell what will happen with North Korea, but at the end of the previous administration, relationship was horrendous and very bad things were about to happen. Now a whole different story. I look forward to seeing Kim Jong Un shortly. Progress being made-big difference!"
The President 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." His 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.
"We've continued to make progress. We're continuing to have conversations. The US is going to continue to keep pressure and sanctions on North Korea until we see fully and verified denuclearization. We've had very good steps in good faith from the North Koreans in releasing the hostages and other moves so we're going to continue those conversations," she said.
A source with knowledge of discussions told CNN the US has had a difficult time advancing anything relating to denuclearization because the White House has been pushing for another summit in such a short time frame.
"There just hasn't been enough time. This is North Korea," the source added.
Kim Yong Chol also met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Special Representative on North Korea Steve Biegun twice while in Washington in mid-January. A State Department readout described the first as having been a "a good discussion ... on efforts to make progress on the commitments President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un made at their summit in Singapore."
In remarks to the World Economic Forum last week, Pompeo said, "There remains an awful lot of work to do, but good things have happened already."
"The North Koreans aren't conducting missile tests. The North Koreans aren't conducting nuclear tests. There are many steps yet along the way towards achieving the denuclearization that was laid out in Singapore and in achieving the security and stability and peace on the peninsula that the two leaders agreed to as well. We're determined to work towards achieving that. I believe at the end of February we'll have another good marker along the way," he said.
The State Department referred CNN to that quote when asked for comment on a lack of progress.