Tillerson offers dialogue to North Korea without preconditions

"Given North Korea's most recent missile test, clearly right now is not the time [for negotiations]", a White House spokesman said to Reuters on Wednesday.

White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement later Tuesday that: "The president's views on North Korea have not changed". "Secretary of State Rex Tillerson swung the door wide open to negotiations with North Korea..." "What we have to see is whether the USA will come out with any follow-up action such as an actual proposal of talks or any efforts to activate its purported NY communication channels with the North".

Experts agreed that Tillerson's "talks-without-conditions" remarks have sent a message to the North that it is ready to talk.

"We remain open to dialogue when North Korea is willing to conduct a serious & credible dialogue on the peaceful denuclearization, but that time is not now". Let's just meet. We can talk about weather if you want. "We are not seeing any evidence that they are ready to sit down and have those kinds of conversations". CNN also concluded that Tillerson had given North Korea "a direct public invitation... to put aside an escalating cycle of [nuclear weapon and missile] tests and taunts [by Trump] and engage in diplomacy".

Responding to a question about whether Mr Tillerson's position differed from the White House's policy, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said "the Secretary was not creating any new policy" and that he was "on the same page as the White House".

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Trump, who has traded insults with Kim, kept up his tough talk on Tuesday.

"We're working very diligently on that - building up forces".

Tillerson added US military preparedness to respond to any North Korean threat was strong in the meantime.

During remarks given on Tuesday at the State Department, Tillerson was asked about the challenges he foresees as a result of the move of the U.S. diplomatic mission from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. "Because we already see elements of it in the commercial marketplace", he said.

In a rare admission of discussion of a highly sensitive topic, Tillerson said Washington has discussed with Beijing how North Korea's nuclear weapons might be secured in case of instability there. "The important thing is that we get started", Tillerson said. Some Blue House officials also raised doubts about whether Tillerson's remarks represented the official position of the USA government.

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Tillerson, left, is shown meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on September 30. The test drew condemnation from the US and Pyongyang's only major ally, China.

Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies, said that there should be "follow-up" gestures to back up the seriousness of Tillerson's remarks. This was the first time that a high-ranking official in the Trump administration has mentioned unconditional dialogue with North Korea.

"That is our commitment we made to them". This is a notable change from Washington's previous stance when it said Pyongyang must first halt its missile and nuclear testing.

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, said Tillerson's proposal for direct talks with North Korea without preconditions was overdue and a welcome shift in position, but both sides needed to demonstrate restraint. "If such restraint is not forthcoming, we can expect a further escalation of tensions and a growing risk of a catastrophic war". Last week, some 12,000 military personnel and more than 200 warplanes, including B-1B strategic bombers and the latest F-35 stealth fighters took part in major air drills.

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