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14 December 2017, 10:44 | Katrina Lee
AFP Getty Images Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State, last night offered to begin talks with North Korea without any prior conditions in what appeared to be a softening of America's stance toward Pyongyang. And we are ready to have a first meeting without preconditions.
Despite that, a USA official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Tillerson's remarks followed speculation North Korea might be willing to talk having announced it had completed a major milestone with last month's missile test and suggested he was trying to take advantage of a potential opening.
"Let's just meet. We can talk about the weather if you want", he added. We can talk about whether it's going to be a square table or a round table.
The presidential Blue House said Wednesday that Tillerson's remarks re-emphasized the US position to encourage Pyongyang to return to a dialogue table. Park says that if dialogue can help denuclearize the regime the allies are willing to hold talks through diverse channels. Tillerson himself said in August, "We don't think having a dialogue where the North Koreans come to the table assuming they're going to maintain their nuclear weapons is productive". "They have too much invested in it".
The White House has actually undermined Tillerson's diplomatic efforts regarding North Korea in the past.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the Second Plenum of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang October 8, 2017. With both the United States and North Korea pushing for dialogue, watchers say the two sides might finally have an opportunity to quell tensions through diplomatic channels. "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.
While White House press secretary Sarah Sanders did not spell out the president's views, Trump in the past has chided his secretary of state for "wasting his time" trying to negotiate with Pyongyang. North Korea is acting in an unsafe way not only toward Japan, China, and South Korea, but the entire world.
The UK Guardiannotes that Tillerson's comments could be interpreted as a final effort to get the North Koreans talking before doom comes to Pyongyang.
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