Tillerson Plays Good Cop on North Korea in Beijing Trip – Bloomberg

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s public acknowledgment that the U.S. 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.

After starting his term with a swing through Asia where he said talks with Pyongyang wouldn’t be productive, Tillerson, on a one-day trip to Beijing, left the door open to negotiations. That’s a stance that runs counter to what others in the U.S. administration — including President Donald Trump — have said.

“The first time I would have the opportunity to sit with the North Koreans it would be to say what do you want to talk about, because we haven’t even got that far yet,” Tillerson told reporters on Saturday in Beijing. The U.S. is in direct communication with the regime, he said, adding, “we can talk to them, we do talk to them.”

“We are probing, so stay tuned,” he said.

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