Vice President Mike Pence has given the OK from the Trump administration to South Korea to continue diplomatic talks with its belligerent northern neighbor after the Winter Olympics.
Pence told the Washington Post he received assurances from South Korean President Moon Jae-in he would tell North Korea they would get no sanctions relief for simply continuing diplomatic talks. The only way sanction relief would be coming is if Kim Jong Un takes real steps toward denuclearization.
“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. “So the maximum pressure campaign is going to continue and intensify. But if you want to talk, we’ll talk.”
Pence added he feels this is a real change from the pattern of the last two decades when North Korea would demand relief as a precondition for diplomatic talks. After holding diplomatic talks, North Korea would immediately renege on any promises it made and go back to its previous behavior.
At this point, the plan is to see if North Korea and South Korea can have positive diplomatic talks. If those talks proceed favorably, then the U.S. is open to speaking with North Korea, Pence said.