Tillerson softens United States stance on possible talks with NKorea

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addresses a joint news conference with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini at the European Council in Brussels Belgium

Trump calls on Saudis to "immediately" lift Yemen blockade Trump has yet to name ambassadors to key nations in Mideast Mattis, Tillerson warned Trump of security concerns in Israel embassy move MORE said Tuesday that the United States would be willing to meet for diplomatic talks with North Korea "without precondition", in a show of good faith after the nation's recent ballistic missile test. "We are ready to have the first meeting without precondition".

But appearing to soften the USA stance to talks, he said: "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". Talk about whether it's going to be a square table or a round table, if that's what you are excited about.

Still, he said the Trump administration had made more progress than previous administrations in pressuring China over North Korea's nuclear weapons program and was working aggressively to use a flawed nuclear deal to hold Iran accountable.

Tillerson did not break new ground in his speech on the main US policy challenges he faces, including the North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs, the Syrian civil war and Russia's occupation of Crimea. "It's not realistic to say we're only going to talk if you come to the table ready to give up your program". "They have too much invested in it, and the President is very realistic about that as well".

Tillerson's remark appeared to represent a shift in approach for the State Department in dealing with the rogue nuclear state.

Rex Tillerson
US policy on North Korea hasn't changed, campaign will continue 'till first bomb drops', says Rex Tillerson

Later the president's press secretary Sarah Sanders released a statement saying, "The President's views on North Korea have not changed".

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. He said Trump is calling on China to cut off the flow of oil to North Korea to accelerate that effort.

Trump, who has traded insults with Kim, kept up his tough talk on Tuesday.

Tillerson has also alienated some of his staff by relying on a narrow group of aides, nudging out a number of senior career diplomats, and making erroneous statements about top echelon of US diplomats during a recent appearance. "Our only objective is to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, and that is all", Tillerson said. "So we continue to indicate to them that we need a period of quiet".

The US also continues to work with Russian Federation in creating conditions to support the Geneva peace process in order to bring peace to Syria, Tillerson said. North Korea's exports and its ability to access oil have been affected, Tillerson said, denying it significant revenue streams. "If such restraint is not forthcoming, we can expect a further escalation of tensions and a growing risk of a catastrophic war".


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