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21:50, 15 December 2017

Tillerson, in Apparent U-Turn, Says North Korea Should ‘Earn’ Its Way to Talks


Tillerson, in Apparent U-Turn, Says North Korea Must ‘Earn’ Its Way to Talks

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UNITED NATIONS — 3 days after supplying to talk to North Korea “without precondition,” Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson reversed course, insisting — as President Trump has all along — that the North need to stop its nuclear threats and “earn its way” to negotiations.

“A sustained cessation of North Korea’s threatening behavior should take place just before talks can start,” Mr. Tillerson mentioned at a United Nations Security Council meeting.

His remarks on Friday were a sharp contrast from his surprisingly conciliatory comments, made Tuesday, in which he said he was open to speaking to the North about something, such as, as he put it, “the weather.” The White House swiftly distanced itself, saying that talks would be pointless so long as the North continued to threaten its neighbors and the United States.

On Friday, Mr. Tillerson reiterated Mr. Trump’s position. “North Korea need to earn its way back to the table,” Mr. Tillerson mentioned. “The pressure campaign must and will continue until denuclearization is accomplished.”

The back and forth reflected the awkward gulf among Mr. Tillerson and Mr. Trump, who has threatened to “totally destroy” the nation and referred to its leader, Kim Jong-un, as “little rocket man.”

Mr. Tillerson’s newest message also appeared to place the United States and North Korea at a dangerous standoff when a lot more, with Washington insisting on a halt to the North’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile applications and North Korea advancing them.

The United Nations secretary common, António Guterres, named the North Korean nuclear crisis the world’s “most tense and harmful security situation,” and without having identifying the United States by name, warned of the threat of bellicose language. He stated it was imperative to open lines of communication.

“While all concerned seek to steer clear of an accidental escalation leading to conflict, the risk is getting multiplied by misplaced overconfidence, unsafe narratives and rhetoric, and the lack of communication channels,” he mentioned.

One of his top aides, Jeffrey D. Feltman, below secretary common for political affairs, met with senior government officials in Pyongyang, the North’s capital, earlier this month, the initial higher level check out by a United Nations official since 2011. Mr. Feltman, a diplomat, stated he did not obtain any commitments from the North, but “left the door ajar” for a negotiated settlement. The United Nations has recommended holding talks to figure out the substance of negotiations additional down the line, and a military-to-military hotline to dampen risks of conflict.

China sounded much more like a marriage counselor in the Safety Council chamber, warning against “mutual blaming.”

“The parties concerned need to keep calm and exercise restraint,” China’s deputy permanent representative, Wu Haitao, said.

The North Korean ambassador to the United Nations, Ja Song-nam, in a rare look in the Council, began by condemning Japan for hosting the session and went on to criticize the Council for acting as “a tool” of the United States.

The Council meeting came weeks right after the North fired an intercontinental ballistic missile that flew greater and longer than earlier such launches and that the North claimed could provide heavy nuclear warheads anywhere in the continental United States. It has conducted six nuclear tests so far.

Since late 2016, the Council has imposed a series of sanctions aimed at cutting the North’s capability to fund its nuclear weapons program, like limiting its ability to export laborers for operate applications in Russia and other nations.

Mr. Tillerson on Friday utilised the Security Council session to scold Russia for employing North Korean workers in what he called “slave-like” circumstances and which he mentioned “calls into question Russia’s dedication as a partner for peace.”

The Security Council meeting came a day following President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia praised Mr. Trump’s achievements in his very first year in workplace, and Mr. Trump known as on the Kremlin to aid with the North Korean crisis.

Russia’s United Nations ambassador, Vassily A. Nebenzia, rebuffed Mr. Tillerson’s criticism of his country’s labor imports from North Korea and questioned the United States “sincerity” in defusing tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Russia and China have criticized the American military workout routines conducted with South Korean forces.

Asked following the meeting about what he had meant with his supply of talks “without precondition” earlier in the week, Mr. Tillerson stated the United States would not accept preconditions imposed by other individuals, such as a proposal by Russia and China to freeze nuclear tests in exchange for a freeze on the American military workouts on the Korean Peninsula. Mr. Tillerson also stated the United States would not ease sanctions ahead of any possible talks.

“We are not going to accept preconditions for these talks,” he said. “But as I indicated in my remarks our communication channels stay open. North Korea knows they’re open. They know exactly where the door is. They know exactly where to stroll by means of that door when they want to speak.”

President Trump has made no secret of his disagreements with Mr. Tillerson over North Korea.

In October, Mr. Trump tweeted that Mr. Tillerson was “wasting his time” attempting to open diplomatic lines to North Korea.

The latest back-and-forth followed reports that the White House was laying the groundwork for the secretary’s departure from the State Division and his replacement by Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director.

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Published at Fri, 15 Dec 2017 19:51:02 +0000


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