Trump says envoy 'wasting his time' talking to North Korea

Marie Harrington
October 3, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump said Sunday he has discouraged his top diplomat from talking to North Korea over its nuclear weapons program because it is a waste of time.

'Save your energy Rex, we'll do what has to be done!' he added.

Still others saw Trump's words as an attempt to give Tillerson diplomatic cover and potentially strengthen his hand in persuading North Korea to come to the table by declaring the effort a "waste of time" that the USA could abandon at any time in favor of tightening sanctions even further or a military response.

Tillerson, on a visit to Beijing, told reporters Saturday that the State Department is "probing" through direct channels with the North whether Kim would be open to talks and under what conditions.

"Obviously it would help if North Korea would stop firing missiles".

"Despite assurances that the United States is not interested in promoting the collapse of the current regime, pursuing regime change, North Korean officials have shown no indication that they are interested in or are ready for talks regarding denuclearisation", the statement said.

The regime conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3 after launching two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July. Trump said that if compelled to protect itself or its partners, the U.S.

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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks at a press conference at the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) at Government House in Sydney, Australia, June 5, 2017. "North Korea would be well advised to take this offer of talks seriously".

The remarks - and Mr Trump's extraordinary intervention on Sunday - highlighted the divergent views within the USA administration on how best to get Kim Jong-un to halt his nuclear ambitions.

Uneasy over Trump's bellicose tone, China and Russian Federation have both appealed to the United States to have talks with North Korea, and Tillerson's revelation was welcomed today by Germany.

Tillerson was in Beijing meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss a variety of issues including North Korea, and prepare for Trump's scheduled trip to the region next month. The North Korean leader responded by calling Mr Trump a "dotard" and warning of the "highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history".

Trump also signed an executive order penalizing any company or person doing business with North Korea. Trump is also looking to reduce China's massive trade surplus with the USA - $347 billion past year - and what American companies say are unfair barriers to investment, including pressure to hand over their technology.

Hammond, meanwhile, said Trump's tweets should be interpreted not as a rebuke to Tillerson but as a message to Kim that time is running out for a diplomatic solution.

Kim and Trump have been publicly threatening one another, and one another's countries, for months.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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