The United States welcomed the January 9 meeting between South Korea and North Korea aimed at ensuring a safe, secure, and successful Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Tuesday’s talks marked the first high-level dialogue between the Koreas in two years.
The United States remains in close coordination with South Korean officials, who will ensure North Korean participation in the Winter Olympics does not violate the sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council over North Korea’s unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
South Korean President Moon credits the United States’ policy of maximum pressure for the willingness of the North to engage in discussions: “I think President Trump deserves big credit for bringing about the inter-Korean talks, I want to show my gratitude,” Moon said, according to Reuters.
“It could be a resulting work of the U.S.-led sanctions and pressure," he added.
President Trump assured President Moon on January 4th that the United States is committed to a safe and successful Winter Olympic Games, and the United States will send a high-level presidential delegation to the games. During the same conversation, the two leaders also agreed to continue the campaign of maximum pressure on North Korea toward the goal of complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Secretary Tillerson continues to closely consult with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha.
North Korea is sending an officially recognized delegation of athletes, fans, and support staff to the 23rd Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang next month.
Under Secretary of State Steven Goldstein expressed confidence that South Korea “will host a safe, secure, and successful Winter Games. Anything that lowers tensions on the Korean Peninsula is a positive development.”