Executive Intelligence Review


Tillerson, Pence: Meeting with North Koreans Is Not Ruled Out

Feb. 6, 2018 (EIRNS)—Secretary of State Rex Tillerson refused to rule out yesterday that there could be a meeting between U.S. officials and the North Korean political leaders who are planning to attend the Winter Olympics in South Korea this week.

Kylie Atwood of CBS News asked Tillerson, who was visiting in in Lima, Peru:

“You have continually pressed that diplomacy is the way to solve the North Korea threat. And there has been a period of relative calm in terms of North Korea nuclear tests and missile launches. Is the time when you would consider U.S.-North Korea talks getting closer? And would the Trump administration accept an invitation for North Korean officials to meet in South Korea this coming week?”

Tillerson replied:

“Well, with respect to the Vice President’s trip to the Olympics and whether or not there would be an opportunity for any kind of a meeting with North Korea, I think we’ll just see. We’ll see what happens.”

Atwood interjected: “So it’s not a No. It’s, ‘We’ll see? It’s possible.’” Tillerson repeated: “Yeah, we’ll just have to—we’ll see. We’ll see what happens.”

Vice President Mike Pence is heading the U.S. government team to the Olympics in PyeongChang, while North Korea’s official head of state, Kim Yong-nam, is leading the North Korean delegation.

Today, before leaving for Asia, Pence stopped at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska, where he answered questions from the press. Asked about any interactions with the North Korean delegation at the Olympics, Pence said:

“I have not requested a meeting, but we’ll see what happens.... Well, let me say, President Trump has said he always believes in talking, but I haven’t suggested any meetings. But we’ll see what happens.”