The White House on Wednesday said U.S. President Donald Trump had expressed “openness” to talks with North Korea under the right conditions while talking to South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
According to a government press release, Trump and Moon discussed the recent talks between South and North Korea during a phone call on Tuesday.
“President Trump expressed his openness to holding talks between the United States and North Korea at the appropriate time,” the White House statement reads.
The press release did not include additional information on what conditions would need to be satisfied in order to begin the talks, but the Trump Administration has previously said that it will only talk to Pyongyang if it puts its nuclear weapons on the negotiating table.
A second statement from the White House added that Vice President Mike Pence will lead a delegation to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games in South Korea to send a message to a Pyongyang.
Pence will also use the visit to conduct security and stability meetings with both Seoul and Tokyo, the press release added.
“The Vice President is traveling to the Olympic Games in South Korea to reinforce the strong U.S. presence on the Korean Peninsula and send a clear message of American resolve to the North Korean regime,” Jarrod Agen, Deputy Chief of Staff to Vice President Pence said.
“The Vice President will reaffirm to the leaders of Japan and South Korea the United States’ unwavering commitment to our allies and to deter and defend against the North Korean threat.”
Pence will also visit Alaska to review the U.S. defenses against ballistic missile threats stationed in the region.
“The ballistic missile defense facilities in Alaska refers to the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) site at Ft. Greely. Ft. Greely is meant to protect the U.S. from incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles,” Scott LaFoy, a Washington-based missile analyst told NK News.
“Vice President Pence is likely visiting there to show off U.S. missile defense capabilities in the face of emerging DPRK ICBM capabilities.”
The announcement follows a round of talks between Seoul and Pyongyang on Monday. The two sides agreed North Korea would send a delegation of athletes, officials and cultural ambassadors south of the 38th parallel for the Winter Olympics.
The two sides also agreed to reopen a military hotline and additional high-level military and diplomatic talks and agreed to ease military tensions.
Beijing, Moscow, the UN and Washington all welcomed the discussions, though the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday that both South Korea and the U.S. were still committed to a campaign of maximum pressure.
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Featured Image: Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore on 2017-02-24 08:38:33