U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday stated that the United States are willing to start talks with North Korea without any preconditions, as the Trump administration continues to pressure Pyongyang to end its nuclear program.
“The point is, no pressure comes off until they are actually doing something that the alliance believes represents a meaningful step toward denuclearization,” Pence said to the The Washington Post.
“So the maximum pressure campaign is going to continue and intensify. But if you want to talk, we’ll talk.”
While in Pyeongchang for the opening of the Winter Olympics, Pence met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and stated that he was “encouraged” by the meeting.
“There is no daylight between the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan on the need to continue to isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically until they abandon their nuclear missile program,” Pence said after the meeting.
According to The Washington Post, Pence said that he received assurance from Moon that South Korea wouldn’t offer sanctions relief or any other benefits to Pyongyang simply for being willing to talk. Instead, Moon said “concessions would only be offered to North Korea if the country took clear steps toward nuclear disarmament.”
The Tension between North and South Korea is going down since North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed willingness to hold talks with South Korea. Those talks led to athletes from each nation to march together in the opening ceremony under a united flag.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration has been getting stricter to North Korea, with Trump himself regularly mocking Kim Jong Un over Twitter, while applying additional sanctions to the country.
Few days before the Olympics Opening ceremony, Pence on several occasions spoke out against North Korea, alerting of Kim Jong Un efforts to control the media narrative during the competition.