Published: Wed, December 13, 2017
World | By Camille Rivera

U.S. ready for North Korea talks 'without preconditions'

U.S. ready for North Korea talks '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 are ready to have the first meeting without precondition", Mr Tillerson said in a speech in Washington, DC.

He added: "Let's just meet and let's talk about the weather if you want, and talk about whether it's going to be a square table or a round table if that's what you're excited about".

Tillerson had acknowledged that it would be unrealistic for Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons program before talks could begin, as the nation's threat of war is one of its few bargaining chips.

Tillerson did also say, however, that North Korea has to come to the table "with a view they want to make a different choice" on its weapons programs.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, right, and United Nations undersecretary-general for political affairs Jeffrey Feltman shake hands at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang, North Korea Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.

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Tillerson said President Donald Trump "is very realistic about that as well".

Tillerson noted that a dialogue is possible whenever Pyongyang is ready.

Tillerson said that he would only push for the North Koreans to refrain from testing missiles during the course of the negotiations. 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. We are ready to talk any time they are ready to talk.

In public, Trump has been less sanguine about the possibilities of diplomacy with Kim Jong Un's authoritarian government, which faces growing global isolation and sanctions as it pursues nuclear weapons in defiance of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions.

In a rare admission of discussion of a highly sensitive topic, Tillerson said Washington has discussed with Beijing how North Korea's nuclear weapons might be secured in case of instability there.

Tillerson pointed out that despite differences between the two sides, the United States is relying on Russian Federation to help solve the crisis in Syria and denuclearize North Korea. "They have too much invested in it, and [President Trump] is very realistic about that as well".

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Tillerson went on to elaborate on the Trump administration's diplomatic goals in the Korean Peninsula.

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.

"Let's just meet", the top US diplomat told an audience of around 300.

"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.

While addressing the audience at the Reagan National Defense Forum in California, he said: "I think it's increasing every day, which means that we are in a race, really, we are in a race to be able to solve this problem", reported CNN.

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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