Executive Intelligence Review


Vice President Pence Speaks of Talks with North Korea

Feb. 12, 2018 (EIRNS)—Vice President Mike Pence was reported yesterday as saying that besides “pressure” on North Korea, there should be “engagement.” This account was given by the Washington Post’s Josh Rogin, who spoke with Pence on their flight back to the U.S. from Seoul. Rogin is known as a strategic “leaker,” but not for his veracity. His article, “Pence: We’re Ready To Talk with North Korea,” received wide attention.

Rogin reported that Pence told him that in his two substantive conversations with South Korean President Moon Jae-in during his trip, the United States and South Korea agreed on terms for further engagement with North Korea, first by the South Koreans and potentially with the United States soon thereafter. The United States would still maintain the maximum pressure campaign, but now talking doesn’t have to wait until Kim Jong-un surrenders on denuclearization.

“The point is, no pressure comes off until they are actually doing something that the alliance believes represents a meaningful step toward denuclearization,”

Pence said. “So, the maximum pressure campaign is going to continue and intensify. But if you want to talk, we’ll talk.”

Pence told Rogin that this was all worked out by Pence’s bilateral summit with Moon on Feb. 10, but clearly President Donald Trump was deeply involved, as Pence “conferred” with him every day he was in Asia. Rogin states that this new approach could still be torpedoed, such as by the new sanctions that Pence said in Tokyo would be announced soon. Kim could respond with new missile tests, sinking any hopes for renewed diplomacy.

“Moon is working hard to prevent that from happening,” Rogin writes, and that Moon is entertaining Pyongyang’s invitation to visit and is urging the North to talk to the United States.

“The White House’s endorsement of the concept of initial talks without preconditions is hugely significant,” Rogin concludes.

“It provides a real fix to the break between Washington and Seoul. It also increases the chances the United States and North Korea will soon begin a process that represents the best hope of preventing a devastating international conflict.”