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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

North Korean invitation shows US isolation strategy working: Pence

Iran Press TV

Fri Mar 9, 2018 03:20PM

US Vice President Mike Pence says North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's invitation to President Donald Trump to a historic summit shows that the American strategy to isolate Pyongyang is working.

"North Korea's desire to meet to discuss denuclearization -- while suspending all ballistic missile and nuclear testing -- is evidence that President Trump's strategy to isolate the Kim regime is working," Pence said in a statement on Friday.

"Our resolve is undeterred and our policy remains the same: all sanctions remain in place and the maximum pressure campaign will continue until North Korea takes concrete, permanent, and verifiable steps to end their nuclear program," he added.

A senior South Korean official said on Thursday that Trump has agreed to meet Kim by May, claiming that Pyongyang is ready to get rid of its nuclear weapons under certain conditions.

Chung Eui-yong, South Korea's national security advisor, broke the news in Washington, days after meeting with top North Korean officials.

"I told President Trump that at our meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said he's committed to denuclearization," said Chung, who had paid a visit to Pyongyang earlier this week.

Speaking outside the White House after briefing Trump, Chung said the US president appreciated the opportunity and vowed to try and "achieve permanent denuclearization."

China, Russia and South Korea have welcomed the possible Trump-Kim summit, which would be the first between a North Korean leader and a sitting US president.

Trump and Kim have repeatedly traded insults and threats of military attacks that raised fears of war between Pyongyang and Washington in recent months.

Last month, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the United States was using "large sticks" instead of carrots to convince North Korea to give up nuclear weapons.

"We're not using a carrot to convince them to talk. We're using large sticks. And that is what they need to understand," Tillerson said in an interview with CBS News.

Tillerson had predicted that the pressure from the US-led economic sanctions is "having its bite on North Korea," and it will bring the country to the table for multilateral negotiations.

Tensions were running high between Washington and Pyongyang over North Korea's missile and nuclear programs.

Washington has insisted that any future talks should be aimed at North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons, something Pyongyang has previously rejected.

North Korea has been under a raft of harsh UN sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear tests as well as multiple rocket and missile launches. Pyongyang has firmly defended its military program as a deterrent against the hostile policies of the US and its regional allies, including South Korea and Japan.

Some US officials have said North Korea has been making significant advances in its nuclear weapons using the thermonuclear test and progress in its intercontinental missile systems. They have threatened the North with a military response unless it abandons its nuclear weapons program.

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