Pence: No negotiations with N. Korea ‘at this time’
WASHINGTON-- U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday he doesn't expect the U.S. to hold direct negotiations with North Korea any time soon.
Pence made the remark in an interview with CNN aboard the USS Ronald Reagan at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan, saying the focus is now on increasing pressure on the North.
"The policy of President Trump is to marshal the support of our allies in the region -- Japan, South Korea, nations around the world, and China," he said.
Asked if he envisioned direct negotiation between North Korea and the U.S., Pence said, "Not at this time."
"The only thing we need to hear from North Korea is that they are ending and ultimately dismantling their nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles program," Pence said.
He expressed deeply negative views of past negotiations with Pyongyang.
"The days of broken promises and the days of running out the clock on agreements with the wider world are over," he said.
Pence said the North represents the most dangerous and most immediate threat in the Asia-Pacific and President Donald Trump is determined to confront that threat by marshaling unprecedented cooperation with allies in the region, China and the world.
"That kind of economic and diplomatic pressure will result we hope in the regime in Pyongyang forfeiting their ambitions, forfeiting their nuclear weapons program and joining the family of nations," he told CNN.
Pence cited China's decision to return coal imports from North Korea as an example showing U.S. strategy is bearing fruit.
"We're already seeing our allies in South Korea and Japan and the wider world standing behind us, but China is taking unprecedented steps to economically isolate North Korea, and given the fact that China represents more than 80 percent of the exports from North Korea this is enormously important," he said.
Pence declined to comment when asked if the U.S. used cyberattacks to thwart the North's latest missile launches.
"I really can't comment on the electronic and technical capabilities of our military, but we certainly would recognize that that was a failed missile test, it failed almost immediately," he said.
He also said that misinformation on a Navy strike group's whereabouts is not intentional.
The U.S. administration has come under criticism following revelations that the strike group led by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson was actually heading in the opposite direction despite an earlier announcement that it would be heading to waters off the Korean Peninsula.
After the announcement, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said it was a "prudent" decision to send the ships to waters off the Korean Peninsula to deter the North. U.S. President Donald Trump also said he's sending an "armada" to Korea.
"The point the President was making is that we're ready. We're ready to defend our allies in this region. We want to send an unambiguous message especially to North Korea that any attempt to use weapons of any kind against our allies in this region or American forces abroad will be defeated and will be met with overwhelming force," Pence said in an interview with CNN.
Source: Yonhap News Agency