Tillerson says US open to talks with North Korea ‘without preconditions’

December 13, 2017

U.S. secretary of state Rex Tillerson told a meeting of the Atlantic Council think-tank that the United States stands ready to talk with the North Koreans “with no preconditions.”

Meanwhile, the White House says there has been no change in the position of President Trump on North Korea nukes.

Fox News:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has softened America’s stance on possible talks with North Korea, calling it “unrealistic” to expect the nuclear-armed country to come to the table ready to give up a weapons of mass destruction program that it invested so much in developing. Tillerson said his boss, President Donald Trump, endorses this position.

Tillerson’s remarks Tuesday came two weeks after North Korea conducted a test with a missile that could potentially carry a nuclear warhead to the U.S. Eastern Seaboard – a milestone in its decades-long drive to pose an atomic threat to its American adversary that Trump has vowed to prevent, using military force if necessary.

“We are ready to talk anytime North Korea would like to talk. And we are ready to have the first meeting without preconditions,” Tillerson said at the Atlantic Council think tank.

He said that the North would need to hold off on its weapons testing. This year, the North has conducted more than 20 ballistic missile launches and one nuclear test explosion, its most powerful yet.

“Let’s just meet and we can talk about the weather if you want to. We can talk about whether it’s a square table or a round table if that’s what you are excited about,” Tillerson said. “But can we at least sit down and see each other face to face and then we can begin to lay out a map, a road map, of what we might be willing to work towards.”

Although Tillerson said the goal of U.S. policy remained denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, he added it was “not realistic to say we’re only going to talk if you come to the table ready to give up your program. They’ve too much invested in it. The president is very realistic about that as well.”

Whatever happened to “fire and fury”?

The fact is, there will be no talks between the U.S. and North Korea about their nuclear and ICBM programs.  If Kim Jong-un has made one thing clear, it’s that there is no turning back.  North Korea is a nuclear power and will settle for nothing less than a recognition of that reality.

Tillerson appears to be saying the same thing.  And since the U.S. will never accept a nuclear North Korea, there will never be serious talks to resolve the crisis.

Kim can play this hard-line game because China has less influence with North Korea than perhaps was previously believed.  China has already cut off most of its trade with the North – including refusing to sell  coal, a major Chinese export to the Kim regime.  It’s hard to see what other leverage the Chinese could bring to bear that would change Kim’s mind.

So what’s described as a “softening” of the U.S. position is nothing of the sort.  It’s the kind of meaningless diplomatic gesture made before the bombs start falling. 

(First reported by Rick Moran and published by the American Thinker)  http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/12/tillerson_says_us_open_to_talks_with_north_korea_without_preconditions.html  (December 13, 2017)

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