U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered to begin direct talks with North Korea without pre-conditions, backing away from a key U.S. demand that Pyongyang must first accept that giving up its nuclear arsenal would be part of any negotiations.
Tillerson’s new diplomatic overture comes nearly two weeks after North Korea said it had successfully tested a breakthrough intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that put the entire United States mainland within range of its nuclear weapons.
“Let’s just meet,” Tillerson said in a speech to Washington’s Atlantic Council think tank on Tuesday.
The White House later issued an ambiguous statement that left unclear whether President Donald Trump – who has said Tillerson was wasting his time pursuing dialogue with North Korea – had given his approval for the speech.
“The president’s views on North Korea have not changed,” the White House said. “North Korea is acting in an unsafe way … North Korea’s actions are not good for anyone and certainly not good for North Korea.”
Seeing as how state department staff have been forbidden from talking directly with their DPRK counterparts since the George W. Bush administration, and that has resulted in spectacularly bad results, it is rational to think that a change might effect better results.
Of course there is an entire regime change industry directed at Pyongyang,* so it’s no surprise that there has been push-back.
*Note that there are also ones for Syria, Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, and formerly there was one for Libya.†
†And the nation state that negotiated in good faith, and reentered the respectable community of nations, because it accepted US and European promises? That one was overthrown by western militaries, and is now a morass of anarchy and literal slave auctions.‡
‡And people wonder why some “rogue nations” are not willing to play nice with the west.