Mike Pence

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Mike Pence led the US delegation at the opening ceremonies of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics last week

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Mike Pence

Pence says ‘maximum pressure’ campaign will intensify ‘but if you want to talk, we’ll talk’

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Monday, February 12, 2018 – 3:00pm

US Vice President Mike Pence says the Trump administration may be willing to enter into a dialogue with North Korea without any preconditions.

Speaking to The Washington Post yesterday during his flight home from the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, Pence also said unconditional talks were “something experts have long urged the administration to do”.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sounded a note of caution today, however. Tillerson told reporters that it is up to Pyongyang to decide when it is ready for sincere talks, and that it is too early to determine whether this is the start of a diplomatic process, Reuters reports.

It is not the first time the White House has issued mixed messages about North Korea. In December, Tillerson made similar comments about dialogue without preconditions, only to have White House officials contradict him, the Financial Times says.

Until now, the Trump administration had followed a strategy of “maximum pressure”, Business Insider explains, “whereby the US and its allies use all possible tools to make life hard on North Korea, forcing them to agree to denuclearise and agree to talks”.

Pence’s comments follow an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to South Korean leader Moon Jae-in to visit Pyongyang for a summit.

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