World Bulletin / News Desk
North Korea must "earn its way back" to the negotiating table, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday, backing away from an earlier offer of unconditional talks to end the stand-off with Pyongyang.
Earlier this week at a policy forum in Washington, Tillerson had underlined that the United States was seeking a diplomatic opening for negotiations with North Korea on ending its nuclear program and, for the first time, offered "talks with no preconditions."
The White House had responded to Tillerson's remarks by insisting there had been no change in US policy, triggering a new round of reports of a rift between Trump and his chief diplomat.
At the United Nations, Tillerson took a tough line.
"North Korea must earn its way back to the table," he said. "The pressure campaign must and will continue until denuclearization is achieved."
"We will, in the meantime, keep our channels of communication open."
Tillerson repeated that "we do not seek, nor do we want, war with North Korea."
"The United States will use all necessary measures to defend itself against North Korean aggression, but our hope remains that diplomacy will produce a resolution," he said.
According to a prepared version of his remarks, Tillerson had planned to repeat his offer of talks without preconditions, but the line was dropped from his speech.
Asked about the change, Tillerson told reporters afterwards that the United States would not make any concessions of its own to secure talks, but that lines of communication would remain open if North Korea wanted to come forward.
The North Koreans "know where the door is. They know where to walk through that door when they want to talk," he said.Last Mod: 16 Aralık 2017, 12:43