White House contradicts Tillerson on North Korea, adding to confusion

White House contradicts Tillerson on North Korea, adding to confusion

White House contradicts Tillerson on North Korea, adding to confusion

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.

According to media reports, Tillerson said at a forum in Washington co-hosted by the Korea Foundation and the Atlantic Council that the United States was "ready to talk whenever North Korea (DPRK) is ready to talk". And we are ready to have a first meeting without preconditions.

"Let's just meet", he said, calling for face-to-face negotiations so that the USA and North Korea "can begin to lay out a roadmap of what we might be willing to work towards".

Citing Tillerson, the spokesperson said the USA will "know it when we see it" as to the right time for talks.

"Then we can begin to lay out a map, a road map, of what we might be willing to work towards".

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Tillerson said that the previous position that North Korea would have to give up its weapons wasn't workable, and that President Donald Trump agrees. The U.S. has maintained that North Korea should come forward ready to give up its weapons before the U.S. would engage in dialogue. "They have too much invested in it", Tillerson said.

Tillerson also revealed that the USA and China talked about what each country would do in case the North Korean regime collapses, saying the US had given China assurances that American troops would pull back to the 38th parallel which divides North and South Korea.

The nuclear-armed North has rattled the worldwide community with a flurry of nuclear blasts and missile launches, most recently on November 29 when it test-fired its longest-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), capable of reaching all major USA cities.

Tillerson stressed that the US would not accept a nuclear-armed North Korea, as it flouts global norms and might spread weapons technology to non-state groups in ways that other nuclear powers have not.

"Given North Korea's most recent missile test, clearly right now is not the time", a White House official told Reuters.

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"We remain open to dialogue when North Korea is willing to conduct a serious & credible dialogue on the peaceful denuclearization, but that time is not now". "North Korea's actions are not good for anyone and certainly not good for North Korea", she said.

Trump has promised that Kim will not be allowed to complete his effort to develop nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching mainland U.S. cities.

It should be noted that he did go on to specify one precondition: a "period of quiet" without any new North Korean nuclear bomb detonations or missile tests.

Tillerson said that the USA has assured China that in the event that American troops had to cross northward of the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, it would retreat back south once stability returned.

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.

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For talks to take place, North Korea must first refrain from further provocations and "take honest and meaningful actions toward denuclearization", he added.

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