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Tillerson gets tougher after suggestion of unconditional North Korea talks

Tillerson gets tougher after suggestion of unconditional North Korea talks

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday (Dec 15) said a "sustained cessation of North Korea's threatening behaviour" was needed before the United States could talk with Pyongyang about its development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

Tillerson said earlier this week that the U.S. was "ready to talk anytime North Korea would like to talk", which appeared to step back from a U.S. demand that Pyongyang first accept that any negotiations would hinge on the country agreeing to give up its nuclear arsenal.

As he addressed the Security Council, Tillerson said the campaign of economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea "must and will continue until denuclearization is achieved".

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is offering his "good offices" so that North Korea's "alarming" and accelerating nuclear and missile program does not accidentally escalate into conflict.

However, Mr Trump's Administration has now said it is willing to sit down with North Korean officials in an attempt to hammer out a diplomatic solution to the tension.

He said the USA will not accept a so-called freeze-for-freeze, which calls for suspending the joint drills in exchange for North Korea halting its weapons tests, nor will it accept relaxing of sanctions or resumption of humanitarian assistance to initiate talks.

He repeated his openness to talks with the North Koreans, but added the caveat that Pyongyang "must earn its way back to the table".

That was a narrower stance than one he put forward at the Atlantic Council in Washington on December 12 where he said he was ready for talks with North Korea "without preconditions", a phrase that in the past has signaled a willingness for open-ended negotiations that don't focus only on the nuclear issue.




Throughout the year, the regime has also conducted 20 ballistic missile launches, including the first tests of two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), as well as new medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono told the Security Council that any lull in missile tests did not mean that North Korea was sitting idly.

Tillerson's United Nations appearance is the latest push in the Trump administration's effort to persuade other countries to isolate North Korea by kicking out its diplomats and cutting remaining economic links.

"Continuing to allow North Korean labourers to toil in slave-like conditions inside Russian Federation in exchange for wages used to fund nuclear weapons programmes calls into question Russia's dedications as a partner for peace". He reasserted the USA vow to use "all necessary measures" to defend against Kim's efforts to ideal nuclear-armed missiles that can hit the American mainland. President Donald Trump has vowed to prevent such capability, with military action if necessary.

He said US communication channels with North Korea remain open and the North knows that.

"We'd like to have Russia's help - very important", said Trump.

Guterres urged an immediate re-establishment and strengthening of communication, saying it was "critical to lower the risk of miscalculation or misunderstanding and reduce tensions in the region". For South Korea, it's the issue of life and death, and it's obviously not going to fight.

"They know where the door is; they know where to walk through that door when they want to talk", Tillerson told reporters after the Security Council meeting ended.

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