Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday that the U.S. is finally ready to meet with the North Korea regime, according to multiple media reports.
“We’re ready to talk whenever they’re ready to talk,” Tillerson said at the Atlantic Council Korea Foundation Forum Tuesday, Reuters reports. “We need the DPRK to come to the table for talks.”
The U.S. is ready to “have the first meeting without preconditions,” The secretary of state explained, although he made it clear that North Korea should put a hold on weapons testing and make it clear that they want to talk.
He reportedly said that the first meeting could be as simple as talks about the weather or the size of the negotiating table. “The important thing is that we get started,” Tillerson said. “Let’s just meet. Then we can begin lay out a road map of what we might be willing to work towards.”
“Any successful diplomatic effort of has to be backed up with some type of military alternative,” he further told the audience, arguing that “our military preparedness is strong.”
“We simply cannot accept a nuclear-armed North Korea,” he said, stressing for everyone present that “there are multiple military options that have been developed to deal with a failure on my part.”
North Korea tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile late last month, demonstrating the theoretical ability to strike anywhere in the continental U.S. This provocative test followed the successful detonation of a staged thermonuclear weapon, which it claims can be mounted on its ICBM.
North Korea declared Tuesday that it is a “matchless nuclear weapons state” and vowed to further boost its capabilities, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reports.
It is unclear how President Donald Trump feels about the possibility of negotiations, as he has flipped back and forth between expressing a readiness to talk and calling discussions with “Rocket Man” Kim Jong Un a waste of time.
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