Pence: U.S. made ‘zero’ concessions to North Korea ahead of planned Trump meeting with Kim Jong-un

March 9, 2018 GMT

Vice President Mike Pence said Friday the Trump administration made “zero concessions” to North Korea in agreeing that President Trump will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

“Our resolve is undeterred and our policy remains the same: all sanctions remain in place and the maximum pressure campaign will continue until North Korea takes concrete, permanent, and verifiable steps to end their nuclear program,” Mr. Pence said in a statement.

South Korean officials announced Thursday night at the White House that Mr. Kim has invited Mr. Trump to meet. The president accepted the invitation, with a date and location still to be determined.

While the South Korean officials said Mr. Kim has made a commitment to denuclearization, Mr. Pence’s statement sounded more cautious, saying North Korea wants “to meet to discuss denuclearization.”

The vice president said North Korea’s invitation, while agreeing to suspend all ballistic missile and nuclear testing, “is evidence that President Trump’s strategy to isolate the Kim regime is working.”

“The North Koreans are coming to the table despite the United States making zero concessions and, in close coordination with our allies, we have consistently increased the pressure on the Kim regime,” Mr. Pence said.

Late Thursday, Mr. Trump spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss the situation in North Korea.

“President Trump expressed his hope that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s invitation signals his desire to give the North Korean people a brighter future,” the White House said. “President Trump and Prime Minister Abe assessed that the maximum pressure policy, together with international solidarity, brought us to this critical juncture.”

The two leaders affirmed their “strong intention to continue close trilateral coordination with South Korea to maintain pressure and enforce international sanctions until such point that North Korea takes tangible steps toward complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization,” the statement said.