Tillerson: Washington in direct contact with the DPRK

World Today

The U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has confirmed that Washington is in direct contact with Pyongyang in an effort to cool the nuclear showdown between the two countries.

Tillerson revealed that information after he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. But the U.S. State Department later said that the DPRK refuses to negotiate about its nuclear program.

CGTN’s Toby Muse reports.

Tillerson met with President Xi and other top officials to discuss the China- U.S. relations and the crisis with the DPRK. Both countries oppose Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

“We are probing, so stay tuned,” Tillerson said. “We ask, ‘Would you like to talk?’ We have lines of communications to Pyongyang. We’re not in a dark situation or a blackout. We have a couple of direct channels to Pyongyang.”

It’s not clear what exactly was being discussed or at what stage these conversations are at.

The comments were likely to be greeted with relief as the rhetoric by the leaders of the DPRK and the U.S. has hardened in recent months.

Earlier this month, U.S. President Donald Trump delivered a speech to the U.N. General Assembly and said that if forced to defend itself, the U.S. would “totally destroy” the DPRK. Pyongyang had said that it might conduct an atmospheric nuclear test over the Pacific Ocean.

Some analysts said that given the rhetoric, without direct communication, there was a chance of miscalculation on both sides. Both Russia and China have urged negotiations to defuse the situation. The Chinese president and the U.S. Secretary of State also discussed the upcoming visit of President Trump to China.

“I believe President Trump’s upcoming visit to China is an important opportunity for furthering the China-U.S. relationship and I hope the teams from both sides will make full preparation for this important event. I believe his visit will be a special, wonderful and successful one,” Xi said.

Hugh Dugan of Seton Hall Univ. on Tillerson’s Beijing trip

To discuss what the U.S. Secretary of State’s Beijing trip means for China-U.S. relations and more, CGTN’s Wang Guan spoke with Hugh Dugan. He’s a visiting scholar on U-N Studies at Seton Hall University.