Washington : The US is open for talks without preconditions with nuclear North Korea, Vice President Mike Pence has declared, subtly shifting White House policy after Olympics-inspired gestures of respect between the rival Koreas. That provides a little more leverage for South Korea in its path-finding outreach to the North and could reduce potential strains in the US-South Korean alliance.
But diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang won’t start unless Kim Jong Un wants it to. While the North Korean leader, who has yet to meet a foreign leader, has invited the South Korean president for a rare summit, Kim has given no sign of being ready to talk to the US.
A back channel of diplomatic communication between North Korea and the State Department has remained open since President Donald Trump took office a year ago, but the only substantive talks reported to date were in the first half of last year over the fate of several Americans in North Korean custody.