10:54 GMT +315 December 2018
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    REFILE - ADDING NAME North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with Chung Eui-yong who is leading a special delegation of South Korea's President, in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on March 6, 2018

    Pence: US Won’t Change Its N Korea Policy Despite Pyongyang’s Openness to Talks

    © REUTERS / KCNA
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States will not change its firm position on North Korea until Pyongyang takes concrete steps to give up its nuclear program, despite an offer to conduct negotiations, US Vice President Mike Pence said in a statement on Tuesday.

    "Whichever direction talks with North Korea go, we will be firm in our resolve," Pence stated. "All options are on the table and out posture toward the regime will not change until we see credible, verifiable, and concrete steps toward denuclearization."

    The statement comes shortly after US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats'  congressional testimony on Tuesday. 

    "I am quite skeptical about all of this [the negotiations]," Coats told the Senate Arms Service Committee. "Maybe this is a breakthrough. I seriously doubt it."

    Coats said he had a long history of watching Democrats and Republicans trying to negotiate with North Korea regarding its nuclear development program. However, all efforts by US lawmakers have failed, Coats said.

    READ MORE: Can South Korea-DPRK Talks Results Satisfy US?

    The intelligence chief characterized Kim Jong-un as an unpredictable leader who is calculating and viewing the possession of nuclear weapons as a symbol of power. Coats said the United States has seen no indications North Korea is willing to give up its nuclear program.

    Earlier in the day, Seoul and Pyongyang reached a historic agreement on holding the third ever summit of the countries’ leaders in late April, according to the South Korean presidential office.

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un greets Chung Eui-yong, head of the presidential National Security Office, in Pyongyang, North Korea, March 6, 2018
    © REUTERS / The Presidential Blue House/Yonhap
    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un greets Chung Eui-yong, head of the presidential National Security Office, in Pyongyang, North Korea, March 6, 2018

    The first inter-Korean summit was held in Pyongyang from June 13 to June 15, 2000, between then-South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. Seven years later, the second inter-Korean summit was held in the North Korean capital, where then-South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and Kim Jong-il called for holding international talks to sign a permanent peace treaty to replace the armistice that ended the 1950-1953 Korean War.

    Tags:
    summit, Mike Pence, Dan Coats, South Korea, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), United States
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