Tillerson: US willing to hold talks with NK without preconditions
13 December, 2017, 06:40 | Author: Kim Reid
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday that Washington is willing to begin talks with North Korea without preconditions.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivers remarks on the U.S. -Korea relationship during a forum at the Atlantic Council in Washington, U.S. December 12, 2017.
"We're ready to talk anytime North Korea would like to talk, and we're ready to have the first meeting without precondition", Tillerson told Hadley.
"Let's just meet. We can talk about the weather if you want", he added.
Tillerson: US willing to hold talks with NK without preconditions
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will stress to the United Nations secretary-general his opposition to talks with North Korea and will instead urge maximum pressure to get it to abandon its weapons programs, a Japanese official said. He stressed that Washington "simply can not accept a nuclear armed North Korea" and that President Donald Trump "intends to ensure that they do not have deliverable nuclear weapons to (reach) the shores of the United States". 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". Tillerson also said the United States was working to tighten enforcement of global sanctions against North Korea, especially further measures that China can apply, and that Washington had a full menu of military options if such a response is needed. "They've voiced their view of how effective they think those may be, but we do need Russia's support".
Tillerson's remark came as tensions have increased over North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs with its latest test of an intercontinental ballistic missile on November 29.
Ahead of Tillerson's speech, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to develop more nuclear weapons while personally decorating scientists and officials who contributed to the development of Pyongyang's most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile, according to North Korean state media on Wednesday.
"It's not realistic to say we are only going to talk if you come to the table ready to give up your program", Tillerson said.
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"He made clear that initial meeting (s) can begin without preconditions and without North Korea committing to denuclearization". "They have too much invested in it, and [President Trump] is very realistic about that as well".
Contrasting with that diplomatic foray, the United States held joint military drills with South Korea that Pyongyang characteristically blasted as an act of aggression.
"Let's just meet", the top USA diplomat told an audience of around 300.
He, however, assured that President Trump is committed to complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. "I have to understand how do they process, how do they think", he added.
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Tillerson coupled the public invitation to Pyongyang with an update on the worldwide pressure campaign he has helped build that has squeezed North Korean revenues from coal, textiles and forced labor, winnowed down its oil imports, and left it increasingly isolated on the diplomatic stage as countries across the globe expel its diplomats.
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