Pence: US Won't Allow Propaganda Charade by N. Korea

Pence: US Won't Allow Propaganda Charade by N. Korea

Media outlets, including major outlets in the United States, fawned over an appearance by North Korean leader Kim Jung Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, at the Winter Olympics and hailed the nation as presenting a face of reformation.

However, senior US officials familiar with the situation said Pence's trip to the Olympics was meant to serve as a counter to North Korea's massive propaganda machine and that media reports indicating otherwise have bolstered the rogue nation's image at a time when it is aggressively pursuing its nuclear weapons program.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Monday it will be "up to North Korea" to decide when it is ready to engage in serious and meaningful diplomatic talks with the US.

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.

But he said the White House was willing to "sit down and talk with the regime while that pressure campaign is ongoing".

In an email interview with The Korea Herald, the analysts noted such initial talks without preconditions are necessary to determine North Korea's nuclear capabilities and their intentions before it becomes too late to deter a nuclear-armed North Korea capable of attacking the United States mainland.

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A senior White House official said Pence was not trying to avoid the delegation from North Korea but rather ignore them, according to the AP.

By contrast, a 2017 report on Christian persecution notes that in communist North Korea, Christians have undergone "unspeakable atrocities, including extra-judicial killings, forced labour, torture, persecution, starvation, rape, forced abortion and sexual violence".

But Pence added talking is not negotiation and is only aimed at understanding each other.

Based on that assurance, Pence was cited as saying he felt confident he could endorse post-Olympic engagement with Pyongyang. But he also indicated the need to make the North understand this policy.

Pence called North Korea a "prison state" and accused the ruling family of widespread abuses, including the murder of Kim Jong Un's brother and uncle.

"We will all remain united in our shared commitment that the Kim regime in North Korea must permanently abandon their nuclear weapons programme to see it dismantled, to accept denuclearisation before there is any progress whatsoever on the pressure on the sanctions", he said.

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