Trump says Tillerson 'wasting his time' attempting to negotiate with North Korea

A man watches a television screen showing US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in South Korea

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and President Donald Trump wait for a luncheon with USA and African leaders at the Palace Hotel during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly on September 20, 2017 in NY.

Tillerson, speaking at a press conference in Beijing, said the United States made it clear through its direct channels to North Korea that it was seeking peace through talks.

He has said over the weekend that the USA is in "direct contact" with Pyongang on a trip to China.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's public acknowledgment that the US has direct channels to North Korea has underscored his role as an administration moderate when it comes to reining in the regime over its nuclear weapons. "We're not in a dark situation, a blackout", Tillerson told reporters Saturday during a visit to China. That's a stance that runs counter to what others in the US administration - including President Donald Trump - have said. "We ask, Would you like to talk?" "We can talk to them, we do talk to them".

The U.S. -North Korea talks, if held, would mark the first of their kind since the new U.S. leader took office in February and the first since October 2016.

Mr Tillerson was speaking during a trip to China - the North's biggest trading partner - to meet President President Xi Jinping and other officials.

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Mr Trump tweeted in August that "talking is not the answer", while America's United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said that the time for dialogue was over and that she would "have no problem kicking it to" Defence Secretary Jim Mattis to sort. But we have to assume that Tillerson has gotten a lot of advice from the Chinese about toning down the rhetoric and looking for a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

Mr Tillerson is a chief architect of the administration's "peaceful pressure campaign", an initiative that seeks to use UN Security Council sanctions to try and choke North Korea's economy while pressing countries to stop accepting North Korean guest workers and close the regime's diplomatic outposts.

"Rocket Man" is Trump's nickname for Kim.

"As stated by the US State Department, North Korea has shown no interest in serious dialogue".

About 28,500 USA servicemembers are based in the South.

The official also said to the extent that diplomatic channels exist between Washington and Pyongyang, they are aimed at securing the return of Americans detained by North Korea. They say the threats could have an opposite effect, intensifying the deteriorating situation in the Korean peninsula. North Korea's endgame has always included direct talks with the U.S. - talks that would eventually end with the United States acknowledging their nuclear program. But he insisted that it was up to the North to halt missile launches.

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