(WASHINGTON) — Vice President Mike Pence has declared the U.S. is open for talks without preconditions with nuclear North Korea.
His comments to The Washington Post subtly shift White House policy after Olympics-inspired gestures of respect between the rival Koreas.
That provides a little more leverage for South Korea in its path-finding outreach to the North and could reduce potential strains in the U.S.-South Korean alliance.
But diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang won’t start unless Kim Jong Un wants it to.
While the North Korean dictator has invited the South Korean president for a rare summit, Kim has given no sign of being ready to talk to the U.S.
Pence is making clear that the U.S. will keep escalating sanctions pressure until the North takes steps toward giving up its nukes.