The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday that it is hoping North Korea will begin a nuclear freeze at the beginning of any denuclearization process.

The news conflicts with a recent New York Times report that said some officials in the Trump administration were seeking a nuclear freeze in North Korea, rather than a complete denuclearization process.

A nuclear freeze would mean a halt of production for new nuclear material, while complete denuclearization would mean North Korea getting rid of its nuclear arsenal entirely. 

“(A) freeze, you know, that would never be the resolution of a process. That would never be the end of a process,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told reporters. “That would (be) something that we would certainly hope to see at the beginning. But I don’t think that the administration has ever characterized a freeze as being the end goal. That would be at the beginning of the process.”

White House National Security Adviser John Bolton had dismissed the Times' report, describing it on Twitter as "a reprehensible attempt by someone to box in the President."

In June, Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the demilitarized zone between North Korea and South Korea in a surprise meeting. The two are expected to resume talks in a few weeks. 

The U.S. is seeking an end to North Korea's nuclear agenda in exchange for reduced sanctions. 

The two sides also met in Vietnam in February but could not reach a complete agreement. Trump and Kim had their first meeting in June 2018 in Singapore, where they not only discussed denuclearization but also returning the remains of U.S. soldiers from the Korean peninsula. 

The two leaders have had a turbulent relationship, ranging from threats and insults to peculiar pleasantries. Trump in June received a letter from Kim that he called "beautiful" which was supposedly sent for Trump's birthday. Kim also said he received an "excellent" letter from Trump.

In 2017, Trump said at the United Nations General Assembly that Kim was "rocket man" and that he was "on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime." Kim responded by saying Trump was "mentally deranged" and that he would "pay dearly" for threatening North Korea.