Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced on Tuesday that the United States is ready to negotiate North Korean peace talks without a promise of denuclearizing their arsenal.
Initially, the U.S. was poised not to begin talks until Kim Jong-Un promised North Korea would cease their nuclear program.
Now, Fox News reports the Secretary of State is focused on getting both nations to begin the negotiation process.
Tillerson said it is “not realistic to say we’re only going to talk if you come to the table ready to give up your program. They’ve too much invested in it. The president is very realistic about that as well.”
He continued, “We are ready to talk any time North Korea would like to talk. We are ready to have the first meeting without preconditions. Let’s just meet. And then we can begin to lay out a road map.”
The secretary of state did say that a “period of quiet,” without new nuclear or missile tests, would have to take place before talks could begin. This year, the North has conducted more than 20 ballistic missile launches and one nuclear test explosion, its most powerful yet.
In public, Trump has been less sanguine about the possibilities of diplomacy with Kim Jong Un’s authoritarian government, which faces growing international isolation and sanctions as it pursues nuclear weapons in defiance of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions. In October, Trump appeared to undercut Tillerson when he said he was “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with the North Korea, just as Tillerson said the U.S. had backchannel communications with the North.