Published: Fri, March 02, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Reporter's Notebook: 'Missed opportunity' for US-North Korea talks during Olympic Games

Reporter's Notebook: 'Missed opportunity' for US-North Korea talks during Olympic Games

In comments first reported by the Washington Post, Pence said the U.S. was open to talking but that "no pressure comes off until they are actually doing something that the alliance believes represents a meaningful step toward denuclearization".

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, with Ivanka Trump on her South Korea Olympic trip, issued a written statement to that effect after the closing ceremony.

"In the meantime, the United States and the world must continue to make clear that North Korea's nuclear and missile programs are a dead end", it added.

During their working-level talks, Seoul and Pyongyang also confirmed that they will continue to discuss practical issues by communicating in writing, according to a joint statement released by the South Korean government.

Meanwhile, Trump imposed new sanctions to disrupt trade with North Korea and predicted a "very rough" phase if the campaign failed. Pence remained seated with his wife as the North and South Korean athletes entered the stadium under a unified flag.

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South Korean-born Joseph Yun, a strong advocate for engagement with Pyongyang, has led American outreach to North Korea, quietly pursuing direct diplomacy, since taking his post under former President Barack Obama in 2016.

The Trump administration previously stated that it was open to talk with North Korea without preconditions.

Japan has softened its stance on talks with North Korea, and now plans to take part in informal meetings that do not include substantive negotiations on the North's nuclear program, Japanese government sources said Monday. This, too, keeps Japan's position consistent with that of the United States, which rolled out new unilateral sanctions on Pyongyang on Friday.

On Tuesday, the Inhofe staffer said the South Koreans conveyed that same message in private. Nonetheless, nothing was said about North Korea considering denuclearization, which is a topic North Korea previously said was not up for discussion.

During a meeting with lawmakers on Wednesday, Defense Minister Song Young Moo said South Korea's Cheonan warship was torpedoed by a Yeono-class midget submarine belonging to North Korea's top intelligence agency Reconnaissance General Bureau.

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The White House says it hopes pressure being applied by sanctions on North Korea will lead to a diplomatic path to solving the stalemate - but military action isn't off the table.

"My government will continue to join the global community in urging North Korea to change course, both on the security and human rights fronts", she also said, according to a script of her speech provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The North's delegation took a different route, prompting the opposition Korea Liberty Party to accuse Moon's administration of "abuse of power and an act of treason" by rerouting the motorcade to shield it from the protest.

On Monday, Mr. Trump noted Pyongyang's willingness to talk, but didn't say the USA would accept the offer.

The U.S government has blacklisted 56 vessels, shipping companies and other entities to diminish North Korea from growing less sensitive to the U.S sanctions.

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