14 December, 2017
No negotiations can be held with North Korea until it improves its behavior, a White House official said on Wednesday, raising questions about USA secretary of State Rex Tillerson's offer to begin talks with Pyongyang any time and without pre-conditions.
Tillerson said at a forum in Washington Tuesday that his country was "ready to talk whenever North Korea (DPRK) is ready to talk". "We are ready to talk any time they'd like to talk", Tillerson said, according to Sputnik. Let's just meet and let's talk about the weather if you want. "We can talk about whether it's a square table or a round table if that's what you are excited about". "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 towards". This marks a significant shift from the administration's previous rejection of dialogue for the sake of dialogue, and is a major windfall for North Korea, which remains fully committed to nuclear development.
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.
"I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man", the president tweeted, "Save your energy Rex, we'll do what has to be done!"
"The President's views on North Korea have not changed".More news: Same-sex marriage signed into law by the Governor General
But elsewhere in his remarks, Tillerson insisted the US-led pressure campaign of economic and diplomatic sanctions would continue until "the first bomb drops".
Tillerson visited Pakistan in October and held meetings with the country's top political and military leadership.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula, which borders Russian Federation, have escalated in recent months as North Korea tests nuclear weapons in a show of force against South Korea and that country's allies Japan and the United States. "We're ready to talk any time they'd like to talk". Before Tillerson's comments, Pyongyang had hinted at the possibility of engaging in dialogue with the United States.
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.