Tillerson: US willing to hold talks with NK without preconditions

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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivers remarks on the U.S. -Korea relationship during a forum at the Atlantic Council in Washington, U.S. December 12, 2017.

While reiterating Washington's long-standing position that it can not tolerate a nuclear-armed North Korea, Tillerson said the United States was "ready to talk any time they're ready to talk", but there would first have to be a "period of quiet" without nuclear and missile tests.

"Let's just meet and we can talk about the weather if you want to".

While reiterating Washington's position that it can not accept a nuclear-armed North Korea, Tillerson said the United States was "ready to talk any time they're ready to talk".

Tillerson has previously expressed a desire to use channels of communication with Pyongyang, but U.S. President Donald Trump has told him he would be wasting his time.

"It's going to be tough to talk if in the middle of the talk you decide to test a device", Tillerson said.

Tillerson said that he would only push for the North Koreans to refrain from testing missiles during the course of the negotiations.

The Chinese are also working on their own contingency plans to deal with a massive flow of North Korean refugees into China if the regime fell apart, Tillerson said.

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"Time will tell what was the impact of our discussions, but I think we have left the door ajar and I fervently hope that the door to a negotiated solution will now be opened wide", Feltman told reporters after briefing the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday.

Tillerson's new diplomatic overture comes almost two weeks after North Korea said it had successfully tested an advanced intercontinental ballistic missile that put the entire United States mainland within range of its nuclear weapons. "But can we at least sit down and see each other face to face and then we can begin to lay out a map, a roadmap of what we might be willing to work toward?" "Our only objective is to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, and that is all", Tillerson said.

"It's not realistic to say that we're only going to talk if you come to the table ready to give up your program", Tillerson explained.

This appeared to represent a softening in the United States position, seeing as officials had previously demanded that Kim Jong-Un's regime demonstrate a willingness to consider giving up their arsenal. North Korea says such drills are preparations for invasion. "They have too much invested in it".

Tillerson pointed out that despite differences between the two sides, the United States is relying on Russian Federation to help solve the crisis in Syria and denuclearize North Korea.

Feltman, a veteran American diplomat who is the United Nations undersecretary-general for political affairs, said he told the North Koreans "they need to signal that they're willing now to go in a different direction, to start some kind of engagement, to start talking about talks".

Relations between the United States and Russian Federation hit a low point amid U.S. allegations that the Kremlin ordered a campaign to interfere in the 2016 USA presidential election.

"The most important thing to us would be securing those nuclear weapons that they have already developed and ensuring that nothing falls into the hands of people who we would not want to have it".

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