Maximum pressure will continue, but U.S. will talk with N. Korea if Pyongyang is ready...

미 국무부 "대북 압박 계속될 것... 그러나 대화 원한다면 할 것"

Washington appeared adamant on strengthening its pressure and sanctions campaign against North Korea.
But now the country's also showing signs that talking with the regime may not be out of the question.
Oh Jung-hee explores the possiblity of that turnaround.
The U.S. State Department left open the possibility of a chat with North Korea... to discuss plans for actual negotiations.
At a regular press briefing on Tuesday,... the department's spokesperson Heather Nauert said... Washington and Pyongyang would have to have a (quote)"preliminary chat"... to set the agenda for negotiations.
She reiterated... that the U.S. will talk with North Korea if the regime wants to... but the main topic will be denuclearization for sure,... and the maximum pressure campaign will continue.
The remark echoed that of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday.

"It's really up to the North Koreans to decide when they're ready to engage with us in a sincere way. We're going to need to have some discussions that precede any form of negotiation to determine whether the parties are in fact ready."

Could this mean... Washington -- which has been more or less tilted towards maximum pressure against the North -- is softening its stance?

"The U.S. is leaving the initiative to South Korean government. South Korea now has utilized the Olympic Games and now came up with possible summit meeting with North Korea, which I think is a very important pathway to denuclearization. From the U.S. perspective, that's something worthwhile to try."

But, it's widely seen that the U.S. stance does not differ much from before.
Maximum pressure and the goal of denuclearization remain the same.

"It's hard to see any change in policy based on the current U.S. rhetoric. It's not that Washington will talk with North Korea without discussions on denuclearization. The U.S. is only saying it won't completely shun dialogue with Pyongyang,... if it shows a forward-looking change towards denuclearization."

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday that the U.S. expressed a willingness to talk to North Korea.
But making Washington-Pyongyang talks materialize is a different matter,... which requires further coordination between Seoul and Washington,... making sure they are on the same page.
Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.

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