U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson concludes his remarks on the U.S.-Korea relationship during a forum at the Atlantic Council in Washington, U.S. December 12, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered to begin direct talks with North Korea without pre-conditions, backing away from a key U.S. demand that Pyongyang must first accept that giving up its nuclear arsenal would be part of any negotiations.Tillerson's new diplomatic overture comes nearly two weeks after North Korea said it had successfully tested a breakthrough intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that put the entire United States mainland within range of its nuclear weapons.The White House later issued an ambiguous statement that left unclear whether President Donald Trump -- who has said Tillerson was wasting his time pursuing dialogue with North Korea -- had given his approval for the speech.China hopes the United States and North Korea can meet each other halfway and take meaningful steps on dialogue and contact, he told reporters.Tillerson also disclosed the United States had been talking to China about how to secure North Korea's nuclear weapons in the event of a collapse of the government in Pyongyang.Tillerson made clear that the United States wants to resolve the North Korea standoff through peaceful diplomacy and, in terms far more tempered than Trump's recent threats against Pyongyang, offered to hold exploratory talks.
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