Tillerson keen to talk but North Korea shows no interest

This article is more than 12 months old

BEIJING Washington has opened channels to North Korea to find out if the regime is ready to talk about giving up its nuclear weapons, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Saturday.

His office in Washington quickly clarified that North Korea has shown no interest in such discussions.

Speaking after a day of talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and top diplomats, Mr Tillerson told reporters that US officials are in touch with Pyongyang.

Asked how he could know whether the North would even contemplate responding to new sanctions by coming to the table, the US envoy said: "We are probing, so stay tuned."

Washington has no diplomatic ties with Mr Kim Jong Un's autocratic regime and has been leaning on Beijing to rein in its neighbour's behaviour through tougher sanctions.

In Washington, the State Department said that while such communications channels do exist, North Korea has shown no interest in talking about giving up its nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump tweeted yesterday on the North Korea issue: "I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man... Save your energy Rex, we'll do what has to be done!" - AFP

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