Pence doesn’t rule out meeting with North Korean officials

Pence doesn’t rule out meeting with North Korean officials
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Vice President Pence on Tuesday left open the possibility of a meeting with North Korean officials during the 2018 Winter Olympics. 

Pence, who is set to lead the U.S. delegation to the Olympics later this week, said that he had not requested a meeting with North Korean officials during the games, but that he was willing to "see what happens."

"President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'Haven't thought about' pardons for Mueller target Pence: Rocket attack 'proves that Hamas is not a partner for peace' Conservation remains a core conservative principle MORE has said he always believes in talking, but I haven’t requested any meetings," Pence told reporters at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska. "But we’ll see what happens." 

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"My message – whatever the setting, whoever is present – will be the same," he continued. "And that is that North Korea must once and for all abandon its nuclear weapons program and ballistic missile ambitions."

The vice president's comments came a day after Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonMueller's end: A conclusion on collusion, but confusion on obstruction  Pompeo jokes he'll be secretary of State until Trump 'tweets me out of office' Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN ambassador job MORE suggested that there remains the possibility of some sort of meeting between Pence and North Korean officials during the Winter Olympics, which open Friday in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

"With respect to the vice president’s trip to the Olympics and whether or not there would be an opportunity for any kind of a meeting with North Korea, I think we’ll just see," Tillerson told reporters in Peru. "We’ll see what happens."

Tensions between Washington and Pyongyang have soared over the past year amid a series of advancements in North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. 

North Korea was not initially expected to attend the Winter Olympics. But rare talks with South Korean officials in January led to Pyongyang agreeing to participate in the games.