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Tillerson: We Need Russia Cooperation on Korea

Dec. 13, 2017 (EIRNS)—At a press conference held at the Atlantic Council-Korea Foundation Forum, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said President Trump believes it is extremely important to establish a relationship between the United States and Russia. Tillerson also said cooperation with Russia on Korea was important. "I think the president has been quite clear that he views it as extremely important that the United States and Russia have a working relationship," Tillerson said. "Today we do not."

Despite this, Tillerson pointed out that the United States is relying on Russia to help solve the crisis in Syria and denuclearize North Korea. "By and large, at the Security Council, again, they’ve [Russia] been very supportive of the sanctions," Tillerson said on Tuesday. "They’ve voiced their view of how effective they think those may be, but we do need Russia’s support."

Tillerson’s statement at the same forum of readiness to talk with North Korean representatives without preconditions, was modified, but not changed, by White House and State Department statements Wednesday that the United States expected a period with no DPRK nuclear or missile tests, before and during such talks.

On this statement, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said,

"On the whole, we can say that such constructive statements are better than confrontational rhetoric we have been hearing so far. We can only welcome that, as it is in line with our proposals."

Peskov added that

"it was Putin who has been constantly calling on all the interested parties to make every possible effort to build dialogue. So such statements [made by Tillerson] are definitely welcome."

Meanwhile, following his visit to North Korea, Jeffrey Feltman, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said the United Nations expects Pyongyang to signal willingness to prepare the negotiations on the settlement of the nuclear crisis, even though North Korean leadership did not offer any commitments on the issue, according to a report in TASS. We emphasized to the D.P.R.K. [North Korean] officials that we really believe that they need to signal that they are willing now to go in different direction, to start some kind of engagement, to start talking about talks. They listened seriously to our arguments, they explored them with us. But they did not offer any type of commitment to us at that point. They have to reflect on what we said with their leadership, Feltman told reporters. "North Korean interlocutors agreed that it was important to prevent war. How we do that was the topic of 15-plus hours of discussions."