The White House said Sunday it would take a wait-and-see approach to a new overture by North Korea for talks with the United States, a rare step toward diplomacy after months of North Korean missile and nuclear tests and threats of war from both sides.
“We will see,” was the response from White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was on the Korean peninsula as a member of the U.S. delegation attending the Olympic games in South Korea. The delegation was led by Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump’s daughter.
Sanders said President Trump remains committed to achieving the “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization” of the peninsula and that his “maximum pressure campaign” against North Korea must continue until it abandons its nuclear and missile programs.
Trump imposed fresh sanctions against North Korea late last week.
At the Olympics opening ceremony earlier this month, the North Korean leader’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, shared a VIP box with Moon and Vice President Mike Pence, who led a separate U.S. delegation, creating some awkward moments. Pence and Kim Yo Jong did not speak. Pence’s office claimed afterward that the North had pulled out of a planned meeting at the last minute.
Trump stepped up the pressure campaign against North Korea last week by slapping sanctions on scores of companies and ships accused of illicit trading with the pariah nation. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. has now blacklisted virtually all ships being used by the North.