White House on North Korea talks: 'We will see'

The White House has responded to North Korea's willingness to hold talks with the United States, saying in a statemen...

Posted: Feb 26, 2018 9:21 AM
Updated: Feb 26, 2018 9:21 AM

The White House has responded to North Korea's willingness to hold talks with the United States, saying in a statement Sunday that "there is a brighter path available for North Korea if it chooses denuclearization."

"We will see if Pyongyang's message today, that it is willing to hold talks, represents the first steps along the path to denuclearization," the statement read. "In the meantime, the United States and the world must continue to make clear that North Korea's nuclear and missile programs are a dead end."

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in a statement on Sunday that he'd met with the North Korean delegation in Pyeongchang before the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games, and told them that North Korea-US talks should happen "as soon as possible."

Moon said the North Koreans indicated they were willing to talk with the US, and agreed that "the inter-Korean relationship and North Korea-US relationship should develop together."

Moon met for an hour with the North Korean delegation at an undisclosed location in Pyeongchang at 5 p.m. local time Sunday, three hours before South Korea prepared to host the carefully-choreographed closing ceremony.

In his statement, Moon said he met all eight members of the delegation before speaking with North Korean delegation leader Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the Party Central Committee and Ri Son Kwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland.

As the lights dimmed in the stadium for the closing ceremony, delegates from North Korea and the US took their seats in the VIP box.

President Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, who is attending the Olympics as a US Presidential Adviser, sat just feet away from North Korean delegation leader Kim Yong Chol.

A similar photo opportunity presented itself two weeks ago when US Vice President Mike Pence took his assigned seat for the opening ceremony, not far from Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

At that appearance, Pence looked stony-faced when the North and South Korean athletes entered the stadium. This time, Ivanka Trump stood up to applaud the combined team.

While the air was distinctly chilly when Pence was in South Korea -- he later said he had intentionally ignored Kim Yo Jong -- he has hinted at possible progress.

In comments first reported by the Washington Post, Pence said the US was open to talking but that "no pressure comes off until they are actually doing something that the alliance believes represents a meaningful step toward denuclearization."

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

The US followed through on its promise of intensification Friday, announcing a new raft of sanctions against 27 entities and 28 vessels either registered or flagged in several countries, including North Korea, China and Singapore.

The measures target the "deceptive shipping practices that have enabled the Kim regime to fund its dangerous weapons programs," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

Asked whether he would rule out the United States boarding and inspecting North Korean ships, Mnuchin said, "No, I cannot rule that out."

North Korea said in a statement Sunday that it considers "any type of blockade an act of war against us."

"If tension on the Korean peninsula escalates into a brink of war due to the US reckless actions, all the catastrophic consequences resulting therefrom will be borne by the United States," said the statement which was attributed to a Foreign Ministry spokesman.

US President Donald Trump said in a press briefing Friday that if the sanctions didn't work, the country would have to go to "phase two," although he didn't specify what that would be.

"Phase two may be a very rough thing, may be very, very unfortunate for the world. But hopefully the sanctions will work," Trump said.

North Korea responded with its own threats Sunday, saying that "if the US has indeed the guts to confront us in a 'rough' manner, we will not necessarily take the trouble to stop it."

As she arrived with the US delegation in South Korea Saturday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders had said no talks were scheduled.

However speculation of potential North Korea-US talks rose Sunday when South Korea released the full list of North Korean delegates, which includes Choi Kang Il, the deputy director of North American affairs.

Lafayette
Clear
26° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 9°
Feels Like: 19°
Kokomo
Partly Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 11°
Feels Like: 19°
Rensselaer
Clear
27° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 9°
Feels Like: 18°
Lafayette
Clear
26° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 9°
Feels Like: 19°
Danville
Clear
25° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 9°
Feels Like: 17°
Frankfort
Clear
25° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 9°
Feels Like: 17°
Frankfort
Clear
25° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 9°
Feels Like: 17°
Monticello
Clear
25° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 10°
Feels Like: 18°
Monticello
Clear
24° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 11°
Feels Like: 18°
Logansport
Clear
25° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 11°
Feels Like: 18°
One of the coldest nights of the winter (so far) is ahead tonight.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 605426

Reported Deaths: 9642
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion836221331
Lake45189680
Allen32646547
Hamilton29240315
St. Joseph27260380
Elkhart24354344
Vanderburgh19292248
Tippecanoe17905133
Johnson14974293
Porter14707168
Hendricks14295248
Madison10909220
Vigo10688179
Clark10581139
Monroe9338110
Delaware9089134
LaPorte9007162
Howard8177143
Kosciusko803182
Warrick668798
Hancock6639104
Bartholomew6443100
Floyd6377109
Wayne6106161
Grant5965115
Dubois554079
Boone549467
Morgan535595
Henry505564
Marshall502684
Cass482663
Dearborn476245
Noble471257
Jackson421947
Shelby413881
Lawrence389179
Clinton372043
Gibson369159
DeKalb345964
Harrison345644
Montgomery343354
Knox334339
Miami319844
Steuben313045
Whitley304526
Wabash301447
Adams299635
Ripley297545
Putnam294149
Huntington290659
Jasper288134
White272242
Daviess266774
Jefferson262538
Decatur246583
Fayette246348
Greene239262
Posey238128
Wells234050
LaGrange227662
Scott223439
Clay221832
Randolph212848
Jennings197736
Sullivan191133
Spencer190121
Washington183722
Fountain183127
Starke174843
Jay167022
Owen163637
Fulton163130
Orange157234
Carroll156415
Rush154418
Perry152727
Vermillion148634
Franklin147833
Tipton131832
Parke13038
Pike116226
Blackford110922
Pulaski96837
Newton90721
Brown87534
Benton86510
Crawford7929
Martin73013
Warren6777
Switzerland6575
Union6267
Ohio4867
Unassigned0375

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events