Rex Tillerson calls for dialogue with North Korea

Elias Hubbard
August 3, 2017

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday the USA is willing to sit down for talks with North Korea, but only if it relinquishes its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Taking stock of his tenure after six months in office, Tillerson told reporters at the State Department Tuesday that the USA goal isn't to topple Kim Jong Un's regime or find "an excuse to send our military north". "We're not your threat, but you are presenting an unacceptable threat to us, and we have to respond".

Tillerson reaffirmed Washington's policy on North Korea during a press briefing at the State Department.

US President Donald Trump has demanded that China, North Korea's neighbor and biggest trade partner, rein in its nuclear ambitions - angrily tweeting over the weekend that Beijing is not doing enough.

However, he said "a condition of those talks is there is no future where North Korea holds nuclear weapons or the ability to deliver those nuclear weapons to anyone in the region, much less the (US) homeland". The ARF also involves North Korea.

He said other options were "not particularly attractive". We will no longer allow this to continue.

"Only the North Koreans are to blame for this situation, but we do believe China has a special and unique relationship, because of this significant economic activity, to influence the North Korean regime in ways that no one else can".

U.S. -Russia relations remain "under considerable stress" and "could get worse" even though there are also areas of potential cooperation.

Trump at times vowed during the 2016 presidential election campaign to withdraw from the agreement, which was signed by the United States, Russia, China and three European powers to curb Iran's nuclear program in return for lifting most Western sanctions.

The US continues to insist, however, that the government of President Bashar Assad "has no role in future governing of Syria" and that Iranian troops and militias backed by Tehran now in Syria "must go home", Tillerson said.

He noted that Moscow reserved the right to react when the Obama administration expelled 35 Russian diplomats and seized two Russian properties in the US, and that President Vladimir Putin made the call to retaliate after the US Congress overwhelmingly voted to impose more sanctions on Russia, overriding the White House.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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