White House Pours Cold Water on North Korea Talks: ‘Now Is Not the Time’

Three Americans Held N. Korea Wong Maye-E:AP-AFP

President Trump believes that now is not the time to talk to North Korea about its nuclear weapons program, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday at the White House briefing.

Sanders clarified that the White House was still pursuing a policy of “diplomatic pressure,” which she said is different from simply talking to the rogue regime.

“There’s a difference between talking and putting diplomatic pressure. We still strongly support putting diplomatic pressure on North Korea, which we’re continuing to do,” Sanders said.

“But now is not the time simply to have conversations with North Korea. We’ve encouraged all of our allies and partners to do more. And we’re going to continue to keep all options on the table when it comes to that,” she said.

On Saturday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters that the U.S. and North Korea were already communicating through several channels — the first time the Trump administration has confirmed any communication with North Korea.

But the next day, Trump made it clear that he did not approve of talking to North Korea.

Sanders said Trump believes now is not the time to talk to North Korea about its illicit nuclear program. “We’ve been clear that now is not the time to talk,” she said. “The only conversations that have taken place, or that would, would be on bringing back Americans who have been detained,” she said.

“Those were the type of conversations that this administration was willing to have. Beyond that, there will be no conversations with North Korea at this time,” she said.

“There are three Americans still detained in North Korea,” she added. “That would be the only reason for us to have conversations with them at this time.”