In an interview with the Washington Post’s Josh Roglin on Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence hinted that the U.S. might pursue direct talks with the North Korean government. However, he warned that the talks will take place only if North Koreans comply with demands to denuclearize.
“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.”
“I think it is different from the last 20 years,” he said.
South Korea has increasingly taken on an intermediary role between the U.S. and North Korea.
During the second meeting, the two leaders discussed concrete ways that the U.S. and North Korea could improve relations. In every scenario, talking was the first step.
“Moon told me at the skating rink that he told [the North Koreans], ‘You’ve got to talk to the Americans,’ ” Pence said.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters in Egypt Monday that it remains to be seen whether North Korea will reciprocate.
“We’ve said for some time it’s really up to the North Koreans to decide when they’re ready to engage with us in a sincere way, a meaningful way,” Tillerson said.
“They know what has to be on the table for conversations.”