NKorea unlikely to agree to talks on ditching nukes: Tillerson

The United States is ready to talk to North Korea "without preconditions" but remains determined to force it to abandon its nuclear arsenal, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday. And we are ready to have a first meeting without preconditions. "Let's just meet, and we can talk about the weather if you want".

"It's going to be tough to talk if in the middle of our talks you decide to test another device", he said.

China and Russian Federation responded positively to Tillerson's remarks, even after the White House appeared to put his proposal in question by saying that US President Donald Trump's "views on North Korea have not changed".

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"We remain open to dialogue when North Korea is willing to conduct a credible dialogue on the peaceful denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula", she said, adding that "clearly the time is not right now", and the state department is "on the same page" as the White House on the issue.

"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.

"They've too much invested in it".

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In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said following Tillerson's speech that China welcomed efforts to ease tension and promote dialogue to resolve the North Korea standoff.

Tensions between Washington and Pyongyang over North Korea's weapons advances have grown this year and recent exchanges of bellicose rhetoric have fueled fears over the risk of military conflict.

North Korea broke several months of silence in November with its highest-ever intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test, which experts have said could reach the east coast of the U.S. "But I'm also confident that Secretary Mattis will be successful if it ends up being his turn", Tillerson said, referring to Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Not long after this revelation, President Donald Trump tweeted that attempting to talk to "Rocket Man" Kim Jong Un is a complete waste of time.

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Tillerson's overture came almost two weeks after North Korea said it had successfully tested a breakthrough intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that put the entire United States mainland within range.

  • Ryan Wade