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GOP senator: Actions toward North Korea will speak louder than words

Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntPartisan headwinds threaten Capitol riot commission Passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to heal our democracy Microsoft, FireEye push for breach reporting rules after SolarWinds hack MORE (R-Mo.) said Sunday that the Trump administration's actions toward pressuring North Korea to get rid of its nuclear weapons are more important than President TrumpDonald TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 MORE's rosy rhetoric on the issue.

Blunt said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he was unsurprised by North Korea's resistance to U.S. efforts to rid the country of its nuclear program.

"I hope in the end we come to success, but I think nobody should be surprised by foot-dragging," Blunt said. "This has troubled now four U.S. presidents."

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"At the same time, as long as the actions are to continue to keep economic pressure on North Korea, actions here will speak louder than words, and only those kinds of actions will ultimately bring North Korea to the place we’d like them to be," Blunt continued.

The Republican senator pushed back against Trump's comments following his summit with Kim Jong Un last month that the North Korean leader would begin denuclearization quickly and that the country no longer posed a nuclear threat.

"I think what you’ve got to look at is actions as opposed to his optimism about coming up with a final solution," he said. "I hope the president sticks with the sanctions and continues to work with others in the neighborhood to stick with the sanctions as well."

He added that he believes it was a "mistake" for Trump to agree to call off military exercises with South Korea amid ongoing discussions with the North.

Trump agreed to halt the exercises during his summit with Kim. Following the meeting, Trump expressed optimism about denuclearization in North Korea. Skeptics, however, noted that the agreement he and Kim signed did not lay out specifics for a timeline or method for irreversibly ending the country's nuclear program.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoUS intel: Saudi crown prince approved Khashoggi killing Golden statue of Trump at CPAC ridiculed online Five things to watch at CPAC MORE spent the last few days in Pyongyang in his first trip to North Korea since the summit last month. His visit came amid multiple reports that North Korea is continuing to develop its nuclear arsenal.

North Korea called the latest discussions with Pompeo "regrettable," and accused the U.S. of being "gangster-like" in pushing for denuclearization.

Pompeo dismissed those claims, saying critics are attempting to undermine ongoing negotiations.