US National Security Advisor John Bolton lashed out Monday at a report that Washington might settle for a nuclear freeze with North Korea, calling it a "reprehensible attempt" to box in President Donald Trump.
The unsourced report in the New York Times said officials hope the nuclear freeze idea might create a foundation for a new round of negotiations.
The development came after Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in the Demilitarized Zone Sunday and agreed to resume working-level talks within weeks on the North's nuclear program.
Kim and Trump shook hands over the border line at Panmunjom, the truce village that divides the peninsula, and Trump then walked a few paces into North Korean territory -- the first US president ever to do so.
The Times said the nuclear freeze concept, which has been taking shape within the Trump administration for weeks, "essentially enshrines the status quo, and tacitly accepts the North as a nuclear power."
In a tweet, Bolton said he had read the 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," he wrote.
The US has insisted on North Korea's complete denuclearization as a condition for lifting punishing US sanctions.
Failure to reach an agreement over sanctions relief and what the North was willing to give in return led to the collapse of the US and North Korean leaders' second summit, which was held in February in Hanoi.