Rex Tillerson poured cold water on the possibility of talks with North Korea:
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Monday it was “too early” to discuss direct negotiations with North Korea, after Vice-President Mike Pence said the US was open to talks.
Tillerson had previously been the top administration official to float the possibility of talking to North Korea, but the White House contradicted and shot him down enough times over the last year that he has learned not to do that anymore. The Secretary of State’s remarks confirm that there has been no meaningful change in the administration’s position, and their idea of a diplomatic solution to the standoff continues to be negotiating the terms of North Korea’s capitulation. Much like their approach to Iran, the Trump administration has handled North Korea as if the adversary doesn’t get to have a say in what will be negotiated. U.S. officials keep insisting that North Korea must take “clear steps toward denuclearization,” but they ought to know that North Korea has absolutely no intention of doing any such thing. If North Korea’s willingness to agree to something it has repeatedly said it will never do is the condition for beginning talks, the U.S. is guaranteeing that there will never be any talks.