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Tillerson: ‘We Are Ready To Talk to North Korea Without Preconditions’

Dec. 12, 2017 (EIRNS)—Speaking in Washington today at a 2017 Atlantic Council-Korea Foundation Forum meeting, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said:

"We are ready to talk any time North Korea would like to talk. And we are ready to have a first meeting without preconditions. Let’s just meet. And then we can begin to lay out a road map of what we might be willing to work towards."

This opening comes at a moment of intense behind the scenes diplomacy by all actors in the North Korea crisis. A Korean source told EIR that the Korean press is reporting a meeting between North and South Korea high level representatives in China in the past days, although there appears to be no English language reporting of such a meeting. Both Chinese and Russian delegations visited Pyongyang in the past weeks, and UN Undersecretary of the United Nations Jeffrey Feltman (a former U.S. State department official) spent four days in North Korea over the weekend.

"We need D.P.R.K. to come to the table for talks. We are ready to talk any time they’d like to talk," Tillerson said, according to Sputnik.

"But they have to come to the table with the view that they do want to make a different choice. Let’s just meet and let’s talk about the weather if you want. We can talk about whether it’s going to be a square table or a round table. Then we can begin to lay out a map, a road map, of what we might be willing to work towards," T

illerson said, suggesting that initial contacts could revolve around establishing ground rules for any formal negotiations.

He added:

"It’s going to be tough to talk if in the middle of our talks you decide to test another device. I think they clearly understand that if we are going to talk, we have to have a period of quiet."

Meanwhile, Joseph Yun, President Trump’s representative for North Korea policy, speaking to foreign correspondents on Dec. 7 in Washington, said that Washington could attempt dialogue if 60 days pass without nuclear and missile provocations after a message from Pyongyang that it intends to stop. The "60-day" policy was proposed earlier by Tillerson, but when North Korea went beyond 60 days over the past months, the United States continued massive military exercises, and North Korea finally tested a missile. Yun says, however, that the 60-day plan is still valid.