Published: Wed, December 13, 2017
Global | By Enrique Rogers

'Extremely Important' to Establish Working US-Russia Relationship - Tillerson

'Extremely Important' to Establish Working US-Russia Relationship - Tillerson

Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump have traded insults and engaged in escalating rhetoric in recent months but Secretary of State Rex Tillerson softened the U.S. stance on possible talks with North Korea on Tuesday.

Appearing before the Atlantic Council Korea Foundation Forum, Tillerson said, "W$3 e're ready to have the first meeting without precondition".

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

Tillerson had acknowledged that it would be unrealistic for Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons program before talks could begin, as the nation's threat of war is one of its few bargaining chips.

Tillerson also disclosed that the United States had been talking to China about how to secure North Korea's nuclear weapons in the event of a collapse of the government in Pyongyang, and that Beijing had been given assurances that if USA forces had to cross into North Korea, they would pull back across the border into South Korea.

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.

United Nations political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman, who visited Pyongyang last week, said senior North Korean officials did not offer any type of commitment to talks, but he believes he left "the door ajar". "No", Tillerson told a town hall meeting of State Department employees Tuesday after recounting work to date on North Korea, Russia, Syria, China and a slew of other issues.

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"We are ready to talk anytime North Korea would like to talk. We can talk about whether it's going to be a square table or a round table", Tillerson said "Then we can begin to lay out a map, a road map, of what we might be willing to work towards", Tillerson said, suggesting that any initial s would be about setting the ground rules for formal negotiations.

This appeared to represent a softening in the U.S. position, seeing as officials had previously demanded that Kim Jong-Un's regime demonstrate a willingness to consider giving up their arsenal. "They have too much invested in it, and the President is very realistic about that as well".

Tillerson's remark came as tensions have increased over North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs with its latest test of an intercontinental ballistic missile on November 29.

Contrasting with that diplomatic foray, the United States held joint military drills with South Korea that Pyongyang characteristically blasted as an act of aggression. He said Beijing had been given assurances that if US forces had to cross into North Korea they would pull back across the border into the South.

Still, the final goal for the administration has not changed, with the ultimate objective continuing to be the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula - and Tillerson said he remains optimistic diplomatic efforts can achieve that.

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. I'm confident that we're gonna be successful. Trump has also publicly admonished Tillerson for his diplomatic efforts in a tweet written in October.

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