U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday he is considering additional meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un after their last sit-down collapsed.
While hosting South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House, Trump said he thinks "a lot of tremendous things" will happen over time with North Korea, but insisted U.S. and international sanctions on the North should remain in place in the interim.
"And, frankly, I have the option of significantly increasing them," Trump told reporters. "I really believe something very significant is going to happen. We could always increase them, but I didn't want to do that."
Trump said he and Moon would discuss additional meetings with Kim, but he did not elaborate.
After Trump's last meeting with Kim in February ended without any progress with securing steps towards the North's denuclearization or the loosening of sanctions Pyongyang is seeking in return, it was unclear if Kim would continue to participate in additional talks.
No additional lower-level meetings have been held since the summit in Vietnam.
Trump appeared to signal an openness to smaller pacts that could be used to secure the grander goals of both sides, but said that he remains focused on brokering the larger agreement for now.
"You could work out, step-by-step, pieces. But at this moment, we’re talking about the big deal. The big deal is we have to get rid the nuclear weapons," he said.
Reports emerged last week that Pyongyang is running short on foreign currency, food, and oil reserves that would not last for a year.
And to shore up its reserves, Kim Song, North Korea's ambassador to the UN, sent letters to international organizations on March 20 appealing for food donations.
By Michael Hernandez in Washington