Tillerson Says US Embassy Move to Jerusalem Unlikely During Trump's Current Term

Dec 16, 2017, 13:46
Tillerson Says US Embassy Move to Jerusalem Unlikely During Trump's Current Term

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday that the U.S.is finally ready to meet with the North Korea regime, according to multiple media reports.

Experts agreed that Tillerson's "talks-without-conditions" remarks have sent a message to the North that it is ready to talk.

In a speech to a Washington think tank on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said it was not realistic to expect North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions as a precondition to holding bilateral dialogue.

An estimated 18 million North Koreans, or 70 percent of the population, suffer from acute food shortages and aid agencies provide "literally a lifeline" for 13 million of them, al Hussein said. This year, the North has conducted more than 20 ballistic missile launches and one nuclear test explosion, its most powerful yet.

"The key is whether Tillerson's remarks reflect what Trump wants or are just his personal views", he said. "We can talk about whether it's a square table or a round table if that's what you are excited about", Tillerson said. But can we at least sit down and see each other face to face? He said that there have been cases in which his push for talks were rebuffed by President Donald Trump.

"We simply can not accept a nuclear-armed North Korea", he said, stressing for everyone present that "there are multiple military options that have been developed to deal with a failure on my part". "North Korea is acting in an unsafe way".

Speaking to a Washington think tank, he added that the U.S. military preparedness to respond to any North Korea threat is high and the military has bene ordered to have a "full range of contingencies available".

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert later Wednesday also appeared to walk back part of Tillerson's proposal, saying there would have to be a suspension of North Korean nuclear and missile tests for an undefined length of time before any talks could take place.

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While Tillerson did say that the USA needed "a period of quiet" before coming to the negotiating table, on Tuesday he invited North Korea to "talk anytime" - breaking with longstanding US policy by opening the diplomacy door even ifNorth Korea does not give up its nuclear weapons program. "They have too much invested in it", Tillerson said.

"The President has been very clear in his direction to me and to the State Department that with this decision, and by the law - by the law of the 1995 law...we will begin taking the actions necessary to move the embassy", Tillerson stated.

"It surely is out of line with the U.S.' previous posture and seems to be moving toward the North's demand to some extent", said James Kim, a researcher at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies. This week the US, South Korea and Japan were engaged in testing anti-missile systems.

In August, then-White House advisor Sebastian Gorka criticised Mr Tillerson after the secretary of state attempted to moderate President Trump's remarks on North Korea.

In public, Trump has been less sanguine about the possibilities of diplomacy with Kim Jong-un's authoritarian government, which faces growing global isolation and sanctions as it pursues nuclear weapons in defiance of multiple UN Security Council resolutions. On Sept. 3, Little Rocket Man replied by detonating a hydrogen bomb northeast of Pyongyang - North Korea's most powerful nuclear test ever. As he signed a $700-billion USA defence authorization bill that includes additional spending on missile defence, he referred to North Korea as a "vile dictatorship". After a close briefing on his return, Sweden's deputy United Nations ambassador Carl Skau pessimistically declared: "Nothing was said that left us less anxious than we were before".

With a note of desperation, Tillerson continued: "We're ready to have the first meeting without preconditions".

The meeting will be joined by Joseph Yun, U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, and four North Korean officials, including Choe Jin, vice chief of an institute on peace and disarmament under the foreign ministry.

Things, however, could get worse should the North rebuff it and respond with more provocations that could make it harder for Washington to wiggle around in its future policy and send the tensions spiraling out of control, he said. Some Blue House officials also raised doubts about whether Tillerson's remarks represented the official position of the United States government.

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