Tillerson: U.S. willing to hold direct talks with North Korea
WASHINGTON, The United States is willing to hold direct talks with North Korea to end its nuclear program, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday.
"Obviously, that would be the way we would like to solve this," Tillerson said in an interview with NPR when asked if the U.S. intends to hold direct talks with Pyongyang.
"But North Korea has to decide they're ready to talk to us about the right agenda � and the right agenda is not simply stopping where they are for a few more months or a few more years and then resuming things," he said.
The remark represents a sharp about-face in Tillerson's view.
During a trip to Seoul last month, the top American diplomat said that two decades of diplomatic efforts to disarm the North had failed and there is no point in pursuing the diplomatic path any longer. He even openly mentioned military options.
Tillerson stressed that the U.S. goal is nothing less than a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. That represents a rejection of views that freezing the North's nuclear program should be the realistic goal of the U.S.
"We must have a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. That is our goal, pure and simple," Tillerson said.
Tillerson added that the U.S. has no intention to seek regime change in Pyongyang.
"If you listen to the North Koreans and the regime of Pyongyang, their reason for having nuclear weapons is, they believe it is their only pathway to secure the ongoing existence of their regime. What we hope to convince them is: You do not need these weapons to secure the existence of your regime," he said.
"We have been very clear as to what our objectives are. And equally clear what our objectives are not. And we do not seek regime change, we do not seek the collapse of the regime, we do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula."
Source: Yonhap News Agency