Executive Intelligence Review


Are Pence and Tillerson ‘Signaling’ about Direct Talks with Pyongyang?

Feb. 7, 2018 (EIRNS)—Even as Vice President Mike Pence—who is going to the Olympics in South Korea—was reiterating U.S. “preconditions” for direct North Korea talks, and the United States was proposing still tighter sanctions at the United Nations, there was some anonymous “signaling” from the administration. The possibility of direct talks between the United States and North Korea around the Olympics may exist, as Russia is insisting, while pointing to the recent lack of D.P.R.K. provocations or U.S.-South Korea military exercises.

The Wall Street Journal today cited “administration sources,” unnamed, saying that the close similarity of recent remarks (“We’ll see what happens”) about negotiations with North Korea by both Pence and Secretary of State Tillerson was not coincidental—the two have had at least two discussions about this in recent days. “A message was being sent,” the paper quotes one unidentified official. “All it does is indicate that anything is possible.” On Tillerson’s South America trip, Under Secretary of State Steven Goldstein told reporters, “The secretary always believes that if there’s an opportunity for a negotiation ... we should try to take that.”