Asia

White House willing to have preliminary talks with North Korea

Dignitaries attend the Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Pyeongchang

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, North Korea’s nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s younger sister Kim Yo Jong attend the Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea February 9, 2018. Yonhap via REUTERS

The New York Times is reporting the Trump administration has told South Korea it would be willing to hold preliminary talks with North Korea, according to two senior officials within the administration and a spokesman for the South Korean president.

Washington’s new stance comes after Vice President Mike Pence attended the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and met with South Korean president Moon Jae-in.

The White House has previously rejected the idea of holding talks with North Korea directly unless it started to actively pursue steps toward giving up its nuclear ambitions and curbing its often provocative actions towards allies in the region.

“The United States, too, looks positively at South-North Korean dialogue and has expressed its willingness to start dialogue with the North,” president Moon said on Tuesday, according to his spokesman, Kim Eui-kyeom.

During an interview with the Washington Post, on his way home from South Korea, Vice President Mike Pence said that during conversations with South Korea’s president Moon, the U.S. and South Korea and agreed on “further engagement” with North Korea.

“No pressure comes off until they are actually doing something that the alliance believes represents a meaningful step toward denuclearization,” Pence told the Washington Post. “So the maximum pressure campaign is going to continue and intensify. But if you want to talk, we’ll talk.”

“I leave here very confident that we are going to continue to do the things we know have to be done to continue to pressure North Korea to abandon their nuclear ambitions,” Pence said.

(Crusader Journal Staff)

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