Tillerson's rift with Trump on North Korea resurfaces

The US State Department said its policy on North Korea "has not changed", following remarks by secretary of state Rex Tillerson that Washington is ready to talk without prior conditions.

In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said following Tillerson's speech that China welcomed efforts to ease tension and promote dialogue to resolve the North Korea standoff.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula, which borders Russian Federation, have escalated in recent months as North Korea tests nuclear weapons in a show of force against South Korea and that country's allies Japan and the United States.

Tillerson said that the previous position that North Korea would have to give up its weapons wasn't workable, and that President Donald Trump agrees.

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"North Korea is our neighbour".

He added: "Let's just meet and let's talk about the weather if you want, and talk about whether it's going to be a square table or a round table if that's what you're excited about".

It was different from the previous USA stance demanding the DPRK show its honest attitude toward denuclearization first before launching any dialogue with Pyongyang. "We're ready to talk any time they'd like to talk".

It should be noted that he did go on to specify one precondition: a "period of quiet" without any new North Korean nuclear bomb detonations or missile tests. "We have said, from the diplomatic side, we are ready to talking anytime North Korea would like to talk, and we are ready to have the first meeting without preconditions ***** So we need the DPRK to come to the table for talks".

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The UK Guardian notes that Tillerson's comments could be interpreted as a final effort to get the North Koreans talking before doom comes to Pyongyang. He said it would be "tough to talk" if Pyongyang chose to test another device in the middle of discussions and that "a period of quiet" would be needed for productive discussions.

Kim told workers behind the latest test that his country would "victoriously advance and leap as the strongest nuclear power and military power in the world" at a conference on Tuesday, according to state news agency KCNA.

"They agreed that it was important to prevent war", Jeffrey Feltman, the UN's political affairs chief, told reporters after briefing the Security Council on his trip.

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