WASHINGTON – America’s top diplomat stepped back Friday from his offer of unconditional talks with North Korea, telling world powers in the nuclear-armed nation, should have the right to negotiate with the United States.
Secretary Rex Tillerson declaration for the U. N. security council marked a stunning reversal after he proposed talks with Pyongyang without preconditions earlier this week. That overture was almost immediately refuted by the White House officials.
Still, Tillerson had planned to repeat its call for a special U. N. ministerial meeting on North Korea to the council Friday morning. His prepared remarks suggested only that North Korea would have to take to a prolonged standstill in his threatening behavior for conversations could begin. But Tillerson changed the script.
“North Korea must earn the way back to the table,” Tillerson told the ministers of foreign affairs. “The pressure campaign must and will continue until denuclearization is achieved. We will in the meantime keep our communication channels open.”
The debate about the to offer North Korea unconditional talks, it reflects the differences within the Trumpet records if it runs out of time to prevent North Korea from perfecting a nuclear tipped missile that can strike the U.S. mainland. President Donald Trump has vowed to prevent such a possibility, with military action if necessary.
So far, in the US-led sanctions imposed on North Korea and diplomatic isolation are not forced Kim Jong-Un government to stop its nuclear and missile tests, or to seek negotiations.
Asked Friday if he supported unconditional talks, Trump did not answer directly.
“Well, we’ll see what happens with North Korea. We have a lot of support. There are a lot of countries that agree with us — almost everyone,” Trump told reporters. He credited China — accounted for about 90 percent of North Korea’s foreign trade — with the help of pressure put on North Korea, while Russia is not.
“We would like to have Russia’s help, is very important,” said Trump. He who in a Thursday conversation with the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
At the U. N. Tillerson called on China and Russia to go beyond U. N.-imposed economic sanctions. He said the North Korean workers were toiling in “slave conditions” in Russia for the wages used for the financing of the nuclear weapons, while China was still allowing crude oil to flow into the North Korean refineries.
North Korea has carried out more than 20 ballistic tests in 2017 and the most powerful nuclear explosion to date. The more recent rocket test at the end of November fired missile that experts say could carry a nuclear warhead at the US east coast.
Tillerson, said the North’s growing capabilities were a “direct threat to our safety and the safety of the whole world. We do not regard this claim as an empty threat.”
He said that the U.S. does not want war, but “will take all necessary measures to defend itself against North Korean aggression.” He said: “our hope remains that diplomacy will produce a decision.”
Tillerson the show was significantly different from the tone he struck three days earlier.
On Tuesday, Tillerson said at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington: “we are ready to have the first meeting without conditions.” He had also called it “unrealistic” to expect North Korea to conduct interviews ready to walk away from a weapons of mass destruction of the program invested so much in development, though that remained the ultimate goal.
The White House quickly distanced itself from Tillerson comments. On Wednesday, a National security council spokesman said that North Korea should not only be the first to refrain from provocations, but to take “sincere and meaningful actions toward denuclearization” for conversations to happen. The spokesman, who cannot be named and requested anonymity, said that North Korea’s most recent missile test, now is not the time for a conversation.
Tillerson and Trump appeared to collide before North Korea, amid questions about the former ExxonMobil executive future top diplomat. In October, Trump said Tillerson was “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with the North. Trump’s tweet followed Tillerson’s talk about Washington maintained back-channel communications with Pyongyang.