Tillerson Indicates Talks Possible With 'Sustained Cessation of North Korea's Threatening Behavior'

Elias Hubbard
December 16, 2017

At a UN Security Council meeting on Friday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said North Korea must "earn its way back" to the negotiating table, appearing to backtrack on his offer of unconditional talks with Pyongyang.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga also said the move is timed to coincide with a UN Security Council ministerial meeting on North Korea's nuclear programme, to be chaired by Foreign Minister Taro Kono in NY later in the day. He did not specify how long the lull should last.

"But we do not seek, nor do we want, war with North Korea". The White House distanced itself from Tillerson's remarks and said now is not the time for talks.

Also Friday, U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said North Korea's most recent test of a long-range missile did not demonstrate an imminent threat to the United States.

"If the North Koreans conduct an additional test of a nuclear bomb - their seventh - I would say 70 per cent".

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson doubled down on these sanctions in a meeting with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono on Thursday. "However, the missile launch in November made it clear that North Korea was continuing to relentlessly develop its nuclear and missile programs even while they were seemingly silent", Kono said.

The US has led attempts to squeeze North Korea financially using sanctions, refusing to lift the trade bans unless Kim Jong-un gives up his ambitions for nuclear weapons.

The new additions bring the total subject to Japan's unilateral sanctions to 56 companies or groups and 62 individuals, some of which are also covered by UN Security Council resolutions, the official said.

General Jack Keane said as it stands the world is "heading to a military solution" to end the tension on the Korean peninsula.

"It is necessary to put an immediate end to rhetoric and actions that are unfavourable to denuclearisation as well as peace and security of the Korean peninsula", said Wu Haitao, China's deputy United Nations ambassador. Though nuke contamination is likely to be localized, Korda warns that "the lack of transparency from North Korea in dealing with the situation is likely to cause political panic in the region in excess of the actual radiological exposure and environmental impact".

There are channels open if it wants to talk directly with the USA about denuclearisation.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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