North Korea must earn its way back to the table: Tillerson

Washington: United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has told the UN Security Council that North Korea must cease all threatening behaviour before talks with the US can begin.

This as a steep denial to his earlier offer of talks without preconditions, earlier. He had said he was willing to start talks with Pyongyang without preconditions, which the White House refuted and said they were caught off guard by his offer.

“As I said earlier this week, a sustained cessation of North Korea’s threatening behaviour must occur before talks can begin,” Tillerson told the UN meeting, convened to discuss Pyongyang’s denuclearisation, adding “North Korea must earn its way back to the table.”

The top US diplomat said that the US “will in the meantime keep our channels of communication open.”

Acknowledging the presence of a high level North Korea representative in the room, he said, “I, too, welcome the attendance of the representative of North Korea so that we have the opportunity to speak directly to their representative as well.”

Interestingly, he did not say a line that had appeared in his prepared comments, distributed by the State Department on embargo earlier in the day. He had been set to say that, “apart from that step, there are no preconditions for talks, nor will we accept pre-conditions from North Korea or others.”

According to CNN, when asked about the omission, the State Department’s Undersecretary of Public Affairs Steve Goldstein said that, “nobody took that out for him. The Secretary doesn’t speak word for word from prepared remarks and works to deliver the words that will be the most impactful to the audience he is addressing.”

Rising tensions between the US and North Korea, which conducted its largest nuclear test in September and fired off a powerful ICBM in late November, have raised deep concern worldwide. (ANI)