Trump Admin Not Backing Down From Confrontation With North Korea

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U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert hinted at the possibility of Washington engaging in preliminary talks with North Korea at a press briefing on Tuesday.

The White House official says Pence stood only for the USA team, despite other people in the box standing and applauding when athletes from the two Koreas walked in together.

"If you want to talk, we'll talk", the paper quoted him as saying.

Pence was widely seen as having been outplayed by a "charm offensive" by the North Korean delegation, which included North Korea leader Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong.

While Pence said the administration is open to talks, he made it clear after returning from his trip that "there will be NO reward for talks", according to a tweet from his official account.

Pence also helmed the announcement of massive new sanctions on North Korea in the days leading up to the Olympics, a move that represents a "continuation of the U.S.'s maximum pressure campaign to get them to halt their nuclear pursuits", one senior USA official said.

Pence said he did not greet the delegation given that North Korea's was "the most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet". "I didn't believe it was proper for the United States of America to give any countenance or attention in that forum to someone who's not merely the sister of the dictator, but is the leader of the propaganda effort". "This is evil the likes of which we have witnessed rarely in our time around the world".

Pence was quoted in the Washington Post on Sunday as saying the US and South Korea had agreed terms for future diplomatic engagement with North Korea.

During Pence's visit, Moon assured the vice president he would tell the North Koreans clearly that they would not get economic or diplomatic concessions for just talking, only for taking concrete steps toward denuclearization, the newspaper said.

However, senior USA officials familiar with the situation said Pence's trip to the Olympics was meant to serve as a counter to North Korea's massive propaganda machine and that media reports indicating otherwise have bolstered the rogue nation's image at a time when it is aggressively pursuing its nuclear weapons program.

The North-South thaw has prompted speculation that it could lead to direct talks between Washington and Pyongyang after months of tension and exchanges of insults between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim, which has fueled fears of war.

'So the maximum pressure campaign is going to continue and intensify.

While some in the media fawned over North Korea in the opening days of the Olympics - despite a clear show of propaganda from the murderous regime - others pointed out that North Korea still lives under oppression. "We are using maximum pressure on North Korea in various ways", he added.