Tillerson assures North Korea 'We are not your enemy'

Share

US President Donald Trump has requested directly and indirectly on a litany of occasions for China to assist in denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, long Washington's stated goal. And I think, as many of you have watched over the last several months, that threat has materialized in the ways that we expected it would. They do not see it in their interest for North Korea to have nuclear weapons, just as we do not see it in anyone's interest.

Tillerson said he hoped that at some point the North Koreans will begin to understand that the USA would like to sit and have a dialogue with them about their future that will give them the security they seek and the future economic prosperity for North Korea.

Earlier on Tuesday, a leading Republican senator, Lindsey Graham, said Trump had told him he was willing to go to war with North Korea "if they continued to try to hit America with an ICBM".

Tillerson pressed the idea that the U.S. would like "to sit and have a dialogue about the future that will give them the future they seek and the future economic prosperity for North Korea but that will then promote economic prosperity throughout northeast Asia", without mentioning the US's goals in the dialogue. "If thousands die, they're going to die over there, they're not going to die here and (President Donald Trump) told me that to my face". "We hope that at some point they will begin to understand that and we would like to sit and have a dialogue with them".

"If we did not have those differences, I would not be serving him", Tillerson said, giving an insight into the working relationship between the two men. But here too, Tillerson was more diplomatic.


Tillerson also reiterated that the United States seeks neither a "regime change" nor "collapse of the regime" in the DPRK. What's been said before: US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said in May that war on the Korean Peninsula would be "tragic on an unbelievable scale".

"It's really the best point in time for a United States president to do it", Witt said of peace talks with North Korea, referencing recent ICBM tests that show the U.S. mainland is at risk of nuclear attack. But Tillerson said the USA does not think productive talks would result if North Korea came with the intention of maintaining their nuclear weapons.

But he made it clear that there was no possibility of talks if North Korea did not abandon its nuclear programme.

Trump had recently expressed disappointment that Beijing had not applied as much pressure as he would like or caused a change in North Korea's behaviour. What's been said before: Ambassador Nikki Haley, the USA representative to the United Nations, said the "time for talk is over" after the Friday missile test, though she was referring to the UN Security Council rather than direct talks involving the hermit state.

Share