Amid Olympic thaw, Pence says allies united in isolating N. Korea

WASHINGTON, Feb 10 (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday said the United States, South Korea and Japan were in complete agreement on isolating North Korea over its nuclear weapons program, even as the two Koreas deepened their diplomatic detente at the Winter Olympics.

SEE ALSO: Jemele Hill weighs in on Mike Pence’s decision not to stand for the combined Korean team’s entrance

"There is no daylight between the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan on the need to continue to isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically until they abandon their nuclear and ballistic missile program," Pence told reporters during a flight to the United States following his visit to South Korea, where the Olympic games are being held.

Scenes from the Olympics: 

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Scenes from the 2018 Winter Olympics
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Scenes from the 2018 Winter Olympics
Short Track Speed Skating Events ? Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Men?s 1500m Final ? Gangneung Ice Arena - Gangneung, South Korea ? February 10, 2018 - Lim Hyo-jun of South Korea leads ahead of Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands as Hwang Dae-heon of South Korea falls. REUTERS/John Sibley TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Luge ? Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Men?s Singles competition ? Olympic Sliding Centre - Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 10, 2018 - Johannes Ludwig of Germany competes. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Germany's Andreas Wellinger competes in the men's normal hill individual ski jumping event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 10, 2018, in Pyeongchang. / AFP PHOTO / Christof STACHE (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
Ice Hockey ? Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Women Preliminary Round Match - Switzerland v Korea - Kwandong Hockey Centre, Gangneung, South Korea ? February 10, 2018 - North Korea's cheer squad waves the unification flag as Korea players stand on the ice after the match. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Ice Hockey ? Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Women Preliminary Round Match - Switzerland v Korea - Kwandong Hockey Centre, Gangneung, South Korea ? February 10, 2018 - Alina Muller #25 of Switzerland scores a goal against So Jung Shin #31 of Korea in the first period during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group B game on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. REUTERS/Bruce Bennett/Pool
Ski Jumping ? Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Men?s Normal Hill Individual Final ? Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre - Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 10, 2018 - Richard Freitag of Germany competes. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Luge ? Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Men?s Singles competition ? Olympic Sliding Centre - Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 10, 2018 - Sam Edney of Canada in action. REUTERS/Edgar Su TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Luge ? Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Men?s Singles competition ? Olympic Sliding Centre - Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 10, 2018 - Tilen Sirse of Slovenia in action. REUTERS/Edgar Su TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Ice Hockey ? Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Women Preliminary Round Match - Switzerland v Korea - Kwandong Hockey Centre, Gangneung, South Korea ? February 10, 2018 - North Korea's cheer squad wave the unification flag. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor
Short Track Speed Skating Events ? Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Men?s 1500m Semifinal ? Gangneung Ice Arena - Gangneung, South Korea ? February 10, 2018 - Jens Maurits Alley of Belgium crashes. REUTERS/John Sibley TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Ski Jumping ? Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Men?s Normal Hill Individual Final ? Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre - Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 10, 2018 - Peter Prevc of Slovenia competes. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Hyojun Lim of Korea in action on his way to victory during the Men's 1500m Short Track Speed Skating final on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Switzerland's Simon Ammann reacts after competing in the men's normal hill individual ski jumping event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 10, 2018, in Pyeongchang. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, Pyeongchang- FEBRUARY 10 - Charles Hamelin, left, consoles Samuel Girard after the finished sixth and fourth respectively in the 1500 metre final in short track speed skating in PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics at the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in Gangneung in Pyeongchang in South Korea. February 10, 2018. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
North Korea's cheerleaders cheer during the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Switzerland and the Unified Korean team during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Jung Yeon-je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Kevin Bickner of the United States jumps during the Ski Jumping - Men's Normal Hill Individual Final on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Alpensia Ski Jumping Center on February 10, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Luge ? Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Men?s Singles competition ? Olympic Sliding Centre - Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 10, 2018 - Emanuel Rieder of Italy in action. REUTERS/Edgar Su TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Gregor Schlierenzauer of Austria makes a jump during the Ski Jumping - Men's Normal Hill Individual Final on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Alpensia Ski Jumping Center on February 10, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Rui Ukita, second from right, of Japan, celebrates with her teammates after scoring a goal against Sweden during the second period during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group B game on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Brian Snyder-Pool/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Switzerland scores a goal during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group B game on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Brian Snyder-Pool/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: MACDONALD Jamie #59 of Canada crashes during the Ladies? 500m Short Track Speed Skating qualifying on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by XIN LI/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: MACDONALD Jamie of Canada leads Yutong Han of China during the Ladies? 500m Short Track Speed Skating qualifying on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by XIN LI/Getty Images)
The Korean Hockey team in the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group B, Game 2 during day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Jenny Perret of Switzerland, Hyeji Jang and Kijeong Lee of South Korea line up a shot during the Curling Mixed Doubles Round Robin match on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Curling Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Noriaki Kasai of Japan competes during the Ski Jumping - Men's Normal Hill Individual Final on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Alpensia Ski Jumping Center on February 10, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Kijeong Lee of South Korea throws a rock in a 6-4 loss to Switzerland during the Curling Mixed Doubles Round Robin match on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Curling Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - The South Korea team hold hands before winning the women's 3,000m relay short track speed skating heat event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, at the Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Phoebe Staenz #88 of Switzerland battles for the puck with Selin Kim #8 and Jiyeon Choi #10 of Korea in the second period during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group B game on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Japan's Fuyuko Tachizaki competes in the women's 7,5 km sprint biathlon event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 10, 2018, in Pyeongchang. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Phoebe Staenz #88 of Switzerland celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in the second period against Korea during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group B game on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: A young Korean fan looks on during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group B game between Switzerland and Korea on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The Korean Hockey team in the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group B, Game 2 during day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Justine Braisaz of France competes during the Women's Biathlon 7.5km Sprint on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Alpensia Biathlon Centre on February 10, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Phoebe Staenz #88 of Switzerland and Jingyu Lee #29 of Korea battle for the puck in the first period during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group B game on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: (EDITORS NOTE: This image was created by multiple exposure technique in camera) Ayaka Kikuchi of Japan competes during the Women's Speed Skating 3000m on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Oval on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Karl Geiger of Germany makes a trial jump during the Ski Jumping - Men's Normal Hill Individual Final on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Alpensia Ski Jumping Center on February 10, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Venla Lehtonen of Finland falls to the snow after crossing the line during the Women's Biathlon 7.5km Sprint on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Alpensia Biathlon Centre on February 10, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Emina Malagich of Olympic Athlete from Russia, Petra Jaszapati of Hungary and Charlotte Gilmartin of Great Britain crash during the Ladies� 500m Short Track Speed Skating qualifying on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Dominik Fischnaller of Italy slides during the Men's Singles Luge on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Olympic Sliding Centre on February 10, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Korea vs Switzerland in the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group B, Game 2 during day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Tatiana Akimova of Olympic Athlete from Russia competes during the Women's Biathlon 7.5km Sprint on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Alpensia Biathlon Centre on February 10, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Team Sweden reacts after defeating Japan 2-1 during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group B game on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Belarus' Darya Domracheva aims her rifle during the warm-up for the women's 7,5 km sprint biathlon event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 10, 2018, in Pyeongchang. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, Pyeongchang- FEBRUARY 10 - As Yubin Lee, #129, of Korea falls coming out of a corner in the 3000 metre relay race, a quick thinking Minjeong Choi tags her. Despite her fall the Korean's recovered to win the race in Olympic record time in the short track speed skating in PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics at the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in Gangneung in Pyeongchang in South Korea. February 10, 2018. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
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A senior administration official aboard Pence's airplane also told reporters that South Korea and Japan "are solidly with our alliance and the need to continue and intensify economic sanctions."

Last month, a White House official told reporters Pence would attend the Winter Olympics opening to cheer American athletes and to counter any North Korean effort to "hijack" the games with a propaganda campaign.

South and North Koreans marched together under a unified flag at the games' opening ceremony. International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach called it "a very emotional moment," one that gave him "goosebumps."

President Donald Trump's administration has taken a hard line on North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile program, saying there is no room for negotiations unless Pyongyang abandons it.

The official said Pence and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, while watching speed skating together on Saturday night, discussed intensifying sanctions.

The official said Pence and Moon did not discuss the North Koreans' invitation to Moon for a summit in Pyongyang, which would set the stage for the first meeting of Korean leaders in 10 years.

Pence did say, however, that Moon shared with him details of his meeting with North Korean leaders, without elaborating.

On his way to Asia earlier this week, the U.S. vice president told reporters he was not seeking direct talks with North Korean officials, "but we'll see what happens."

During an Olympics reception and at the sporting event's opening ceremony, Pence was not trying to avoid North Korean officials in attendance, the senior administration official told reporters on Saturday, adding that he was trying to ignore them.

The official also noted that while Trump believes in talking, in this case, the issue is not about words but about deeds on North Korea's part.

(Reporting By Richard Cowan; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Bill Trott)

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