U.S. President Donald Trump told his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae In on Wednesday that the United States will not take any military action against North Korea so long as inter-Korean dialogue continues, according to the South Korean presidential office.
Trump, speaking over phone, welcomed Tuesday's resumption of talks between the two Koreas on North Korea's participation in next month's Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and said he will send Vice President Mike Pence to the event, the office and the White House said.
Aside from attending the opening ceremony of the Games on Feb. 9, Pence will visit Seoul and Tokyo for talks with leaders of the two U.S. allies on security and stability of the Korean Peninsula, the White House said.
Trump and Moon agreed the fresh inter-Korean dialogue is not limited to the Games but could eventually lead to dialogue between the United States and North Korea on ridding the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons, Moon's office said.
Trump expressed his openness to holding talks with North Korea "at the appropriate time, under the right circumstances," the White House said, without elaborating.
At the same time, the two leaders affirmed to continue imposing "maximize pressure" on North Korea to compel it to engage in credible talks for denuclearization, according to a White House statement.
Pence's office said the vice president's attendance to the Olympics will "reinforce the strong U.S. presence on the Korean Peninsula and send a clear message of American resolve to the North Korean regime."
Referring to Pence's visits to Seoul and Tokyo, Jarrod Agen, Pence's deputy chief of staff, said, "The vice president will reaffirm to the leaders of Japan and South Korea the United States' unwavering commitment to our allies and to deter and defend against the North Korean threat."
Pence will also travel to Alaska to review ballistic missile defense facilities.
(U.S. Vice President Mike Pence)
The phone call came after Moon, speaking with reporters, credited Trump for helping to bring about the talks between South and North Korea, which were the first in two years.
Trump earlier tweeted that he had brought the talks about by being "firm, strong and willing to commit our total 'might' against the North."
Speaking in Washington on Wednesday, Trump told a Cabinet meeting that his administration's pressure campaign has propelled North Korea to seek talks with South Korea.
"Without our attitude, that would have never happened," he said. "Hopefully it'll lead to success for the world. Not just for our country, but for the world. And we'll be seeing over the next number of weeks and months what happens."