WASHINGTON – US Vice President Mike Pence ruled out on Wednesday negotiating directly with the leader of North Korea to soothe tensions between the two countries, at least for now.
“The only thing we need to hear from North Korea is that they are ending and ultimately dismantling their nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles program,” Pence said in an interview with CNN, aboard the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier at the Yokosuka naval base in Japan.
During his presidential campaign, US President Donald Trump had expressed his willingness to hold talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un but tensions between both countries have spiraled after Pyongyang fired a missile into the Sea of Japan on April 5.
After the launch, Trump announced the country’s decision to send the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and a strike group, including two destroyers, to the Korean peninsula although it was later revealed that the vessel was heading towards the Indian Ocean.
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had said that the country is considering the possibility of putting North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, from which it was removed in 2008.