Pence, Tillerson Signal Openness to Talks with N. Korea

Pence, Tillerson Signal Openness to Talks with N. Korea

He also called for a quick resumption of dialogue between North Korea and the United States, apparently aware that being friendly with the North could alienate an American ally critical to the defense of the South.

"As to the vice president's comments about potentially having talks and whether it's the start of a diplomatic process, I think it's too early to judge".

The cheerleaders - dubbed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's "army of beauties" - were rooting on the Korean hockey team composed of players from the North and South as they got trounced by Switzerland.

On the flight home from his trip to South Korea on Sunday, the USA vice president said that the maximum pressure campaign is going to continue unless the North takes steps towards its denuclearlization but added that if the North wants to talk, the US will talk. "I leave this trip encouraged that we will continue to work very closely to continue and intensify the maximum-pressure campaign that is underway against the regime in Pyongyang". "But if you want to talk, we'll talk". "I was encouraged by the affirmation of our alliance and our common goal, from both [Japanese] Prime Minister Abe and President Moon", he said.

Washington was caught off guard by the effectiveness of the North Korean propaganda campaign, US officials said. "So we'll just have to wait and see", Tillerson said. If U.S. diplomats can not live up to these civil standards they should stay home.

At the same time, North Korea recently has shown no interest in talking to the United States and has made clear it has no intention of negotiating away its nuclear and missile programs. Pence added that he and Moon assured each other "that we will continue to stand strong and work in a coordinated way to bring maximum economic and diplomatic pressure to bear on North Korea".

After checking with a North Korean official at the scene, it has been confirmed that "there was no such meaning whatsoever, as assumed in the report", the ministry said in a release. "They know what has to be on the table for conversations".

Trump has at times questioned the objective of further talks with the North after years of negotiations by previous U.S. administrations failed to halt the North's weapons programs.

Relations between the two Koreas have improved in recent weeks, with Pyongyang agreeing to send its highest ranking delegation ever to attend the Winter Olympic Games, being held in the South Korean resort of Pyeongchang. Such a meeting, if it came about, would mark the first inter-Korea summit since 2007.

The move added fuel to the fire for South Korean protestors, who believe allowing North Koreans to compete in a unified team with South Koreans allows the hermit state to spread propagand and puts South Korea's military alliance with the USA at risk. The South hosts 28,500 USA troops, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean war. The North Korean representative invited Moon to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, for talks on behalf of her brother.

Tillerson was reacting to Vice President Mike Pence's remarks to the Washington Post on Sunday that the Trump administration is now willing to sit down and talk with North Korea.

South Korea said it will seek ways to continue engaging North Korea, including trying to arrange more reunions for families divided by the war and lowering military tensions.

When he returned to the USA, he told reporters that he had hoped "to express American resolve regarding North Korea..."

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach will visit North Korea after the Games as part of an agreement between the IOC and North and South Korea, a source within the Olympic movement told Reuters on Monday.

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