Pence raises prospects for talks with North Korea, sanctions to continue

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The United States is open to talks with North Korea, but only to convey the U.S. stance that "the most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet" must give up its nuclear weapons, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday.

Pence spoke after attending the Winter Olympics in South Korea last week, at which he avoided contact with a North Korean delegation that held talks with the South Korean leadership.

"If you want to talk, we'll talk", the paper quoted him as saying.

Pence's decision comes at a time of increasing rapprochement between Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) leadership and South Korean president Moon Jae-In, after DPRK senior advisor Kim Yo-Jong invited Moon for further talk on the sidelines of the 2018 Winter Olympics, now being held in PyeongChang, South Korea.

The Trump administration is not backing down from its efforts to confront North Korea, sanction its nuclear program, and confront the country's propaganda machine, these officials said.

"With its fawning coverage of Kim Yo Jong and the Kim regime, much of the US media has unintentionally become complicit in North Korea's charm offensive", said one senior administration official who expressed dismay over the recent coverage in conversations with the Free Beacon. "This is evil the likes of which we have witnessed rarely in our time around the world".

Coats also stated that North Korea presented "a potentially existential" threat to the USA and that "decision time is becoming ever closer in terms of how we respond to this".

During Pence's visit, Moon assured the vice president he would tell the North Koreans clearly that they would not get economic or diplomatic concessions for just talking, only for taking concrete steps toward denuclearization, the newspaper said.

Pence also drew a distinction between talks and negotiations, saying President Donald Trump "believes in" talking, but talking is not negotiating.

"We're open to communicating our policy to the regime in North Korea, but what North Korea needs to understand ... nothing will change until the day comes that North Korea permanently abandons its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs and ceases to threaten the United States of America and our allies in the region", he said. "[The] maximum pressure campaign is going to continue and intensify".

While some in the media fawned over North Korea in the opening days of the Olympics - despite a clear show of propaganda from the murderous regime - others pointed out that North Korea still lives under oppression. "I think it behooves us and our Korean allies not to be charmed [and] consider North Korea for the regime it is and deal with it on the basis of fact, not charm", he told the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee.

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