US President Donald Trump on Monday offered a cautious response to North Korea’s offer of dialogue, saying it could only happen “if the conditions are right”. “They want to talk, and we also want to talk but only if the conditions are right,” Trump said in a meeting with state governors in Washington.
“They want to speak, this is the first time… We’ll see what happens,” he added, recalling that his administration’s approach had been to demonstrate “firmness” “vis-à-vis the regime of Kim Jong Un as long as he does not give up his nuclear program.
Shortly after, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders assured that the United States would continue to “carry out a campaign of maximum pressure on the regime,” hammering the position of the US executive: “denuclearization must be the result of any dialogue with North Korea”.
The South Korean presidency said on Sunday that North Korea was willing to discuss with the United States after meeting with the North Korean delegation at the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games in South Korea. The North Korean delegation “agreed that the inter-Korean talks and northern relations with the United States should improve at the same time,” said a statement from Seoul.
This opening gesture comes just days after the imposition of new sanctions against Pyongyang by Washington.
On Friday, Donald Trump announced the “heaviest sanctions ever imposed against a country,” unveiling new measures to force North Korea to end its nuclear program and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Sunday Pyongyang had presented these new restrictions as “an act of war”.