And on Oct. 2, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dismissed the notion of talks.
"We've been clear that now is not the time to talk," Sanders said. "The only conversations that have taken place were that ... would be on bringing back Americans who have been detained. ... Beyond that, there will be no conversations with North Korea at this time."
The senior official's striking new tone came a day after Trump, speaking on Korean soil in Seoul, warned North Korea that he would defend the United States and its allies with America's full arsenal of military weapons if it attacks but also urged the Kim government to open negotiations with the U.S. and other countries.
Hours before his aides' briefed reporters on the executive jet, Trump delivered a speech to the South Korean legislature in which he struck both peace-seeking and hawkish tones toward North Korea.
"America does not seek conflict or confrontation, but we will never run from it," Trump said, delivering this stern warning to Kim: "Do not try us."
"History is filled with discarded regimes that have foolishly tested America's resolve," he said to sometimes-tepid applause in the large hall. "Anyone who doubts the strength or determination of the United States should look to our past and you will doubt it no longer. We will not permit America or our allies to be blackmailed or attacked."
On a lighter note, Trump may find himself unable to use his preferred method of communicating with his supporters while in China: Twitter.
"I'm sure we've got the gear aboard this airplane to make it happen," the senior official said of most American social media sites, including Twitter, being banned there. "But it is noteworthy that none of the major Western platforms for social media are even allowed to operate in China."
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