Tillerson Says US Is Communicating Directly With North Korea

Lester Mason
October 1, 2017

"I know President Trump is very much looking forward to the upcoming summit as is everyone on his team", said Tillerson, who was due to meet Xi later in the day.

He said that he had told USA secretary of state Rex Tillerson that "he is wasting his time with Little Rocket Man" the nickname he has given North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"We are probing, so stay tuned", Tillerson told a small group of reporters during a trip to China. "We ask: 'Would you like to talk?'" He said the United States had "a couple of, three channels open to Pyongyang".

"We wish the people of China a joyous celebration, and peace and prosperity over the coming year", he added.

Earlier on Saturday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters the US had been sending out feelers to see if North Korea was interested in dialogue.

Mr Tillerson's comments marked the first confirmation that backchannel discussions have been taking place as North Korea's nuclear tests and a war of words between the two leaders sparked fears of a military conflict.

"Currently the most important event in our bilateral relations is President Trump's China visit in November", Xi said during his meeting with Tillerson at the Great Hall of the People. "We do talk to them", he said, without elaborating.

Tillerson is making his second visit as secretary of state to the world's No. 2 economy and chief American rival for influence in Asia, and increasingly, the world.

In addition to North Korea, the USA and China have other security concerns to address. Kim reacted by saying he would tame the rationally unsettled USA dotard with flame.

He was speaking in China, where he is hoping to encourage President Xi Jinping to implement recently agreed United Nations sanctions against North Korea.

They are at odds over Beijing's military buildup and assertive claims to disputed islands in the South China Sea. Trump's planned visit next month will come weeks after Xi is expected to receive a new five-year term as leader of the ruling Communist Party. He did not directly address the impact of Trump's own rhetoric.

Pennington reported from Washington.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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