Tillerson: US 'a Long Way' from Talks with Pyongyang

Tillerson: US 'a Long Way' from Talks with Pyongyang

Thursday, 8 March, 2018 - 13:00
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives to begin a six-day trip in Africa, after landing at the Addis Ababa International Airport on Tuesday. (Jonathan Ernst / AP)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Washington's top diplomat Rex Tillerson said Thursday the United States was "a long way from negotiations" with North Korea, which this week made a shock offer to discuss denuclearization.

"We're a long way from negotiations, we just need to be very clear-eyed and realistic about it," Tillerson said in Addis Ababa, the first stop on an African tour.

"I think the first step, and I've said this before, is to have... some kind of talks about talks because I don't know yet ... whether the conditions are right to even begin thinking about negotiations."

China's foreign minister urged the United States and North Korea Thursday to start talks as soon as possible, stressing that "the sincerity" of all parties to solve the nuclear crisis would be tested.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi cautiously welcomed Seoul's announcement that Pyongyang had offered to hold denuclearization talks with the United States in return for security guarantees.

The North also agreed to hold a historic summit between its leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in late April.

"The Korean peninsula issue has finally taken an important step in the right direction," Wang told a press conference on the sidelines of annual parliamentary session.

"These initial steps must be followed up by corresponding and concerted efforts by the parties. We call on the parties, particularly the United States and the DPRK, to engage in dialogue sooner rather than later," he said.

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