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all eyes on north korea

Pence says U.S. ready to talk with North Korea

Vice President Mike Pence told The Washington Post on Sunday that the U.S. is willing to sit down and talk with North Korea while still imposing sanctions and urging Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons programs.

Previously, the Trump administration had said it would not enter talks with North Korea until concrete steps were being made toward denuclearization. Pence said he had two conversations with South Korean President Moon Jae-in while in Pyeongchang for the Winter Olympics, and they agreed to a plan that involves North Korea holding talks with South Korea regarding denuclearization, and then the United States. This is "maximum pressure and engagement at the same time," Pence said.

Pence said Moon assured him that North Korea will be made fully aware the country will not receive any economic or diplomatic benefits for merely attending the talks. He also said he doesn't know yet what steps North Korea will need to take to get relief from sanctions. "That's why you have to have talks," Pence told the Post.