Tillerson overture to N.Korea: US ready to talk without pre-condition

Tillerson overture to N.Korea: US ready to talk without pre-condition

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said during a press conference at the 2017 Atlantic Council-Korea Foundation Forum that while the U.S. and Russian Federation do not have a working relationship at the moment, President Trump believes it is extremely important to establish one.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addresses a joint news conference with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium, December 5, 2017.

"We've said from the diplomatic side, we're ready to talk any time North Korea would like to talk and we're ready to have the first meeting without precondition", Tillerson said. "We want you to make a different approach".

Tillerson stressed that the USA would not accept a nuclear-armed North Korea, as it flouts global norms and might spread weapons technology to non-state groups in ways that other nuclear powers have not.

Tillerson also disclosed that the United States had been talking to China about how to secure North Korea's nuclear weapons in the event of a collapse of the government in Pyongyang, and that Beijing had been given assurances that if USA forces had to cross into North Korea, they would pull back across the border into South Korea. "North Korea's actions are not good for anyone and certainly not good for North Korea", Sarah Sanders, the President's press secretary, said in an email.

Tillerson has previously expressed a desire to use channels of communication with Pyongyang, but U.S. President Donald Trump has told him he would be wasting his time. Mr Tillerson said any talks would have to occur amid a "period of quiet", noting that it would be "tough to talk if in the middle of our talks you decide to test another device".

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The Chinese are also working on their own contingency plans to deal with a massive flow of North Korean refugees into China if the regime fell apart, Tillerson said. Lawmakers of both parties, former secretaries of state, former national security officials and retired foreign service officers, as well as diplomats resigning in anger, say the administration's approach to the State Department is undermining USA national security and weakening diplomacy at a time of deepening global crises. "But can we at least sit down and see each other face to face and then we can begin to lay out a map, a roadmap of what we might be willing to work toward?" The offer to North Korea comes amid crippling sanctions on the country and high tension over its nuclear weapons program - and just after another intercontinental ballistic missile test just two weeks ago.

At least half his address was devoted to walking State Department employees through worldwide events of the year, starting with the challenge of North Korea.

He, however, assured that President Trump is committed to complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

His comments come as North Korea hinted at the possibility of engaging in dialogue with the United States. They've too much invested in it. The top U.S. diplomat said that in his previous job as Exxon Mobil CEO, "I didn't have to spend a lot of time worrying about children being killed, people's rights, dignity being violated in unimaginable ways".

"If they keep going, they can cross a point in which there is nothing left for us in the diplomatic community. where there is nothing else left for us to do", Tillerson said. Trump has also publicly admonished Tillerson for his diplomatic efforts in a tweet written in October. "We've had conversations with the Chinese about how that might be done", Tillerson said.

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