North Korea’s frequent and bloody sabre-rattling has led to an “overheated situation” in the region, the White House said today in a grave new warning.
Kim Jong-un’s recent missile launches and nuclear tests have led to chaos in East Asia, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said during a visit to China today.
He warned the despot to cease his suicidal nuclear armament and to instead open constructive dialogue with US President Donald Trump.
Mr Tillerson said in Beijing: “I think the whole situation is a bit overheated right now. I think everyone would like for it to calm down.”
Turning the burden of responsibility onto North Korea, who are expected to make another nuclear test or missile launch in the near future, he urged Kim to control his trigger finger.
Mr Tillerson said: “Obviously it would help if North Korea would stop firing off missiles, that would calm things down a lot.”
And he revealed Washington is in talks with Pyongyang over ways in which their war of words can come to a peaceful conclusion – something which appears to be failing, given Mr Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea earlier this month.
In a rare revalation about the USA’s relations with North Korea, Mr Tillerson said Washington has three channels with which they can hold talks with Kim, although he refused to explain further.
Mr Tillerson told reporters in Beijing: “We have a couple of, three channels open to Pyongyang. We can talk to them. We do talk to them.
“We are probing, so stay tuned. We ask ‘would you like to talk?’”
“We have lines of communications to Pyongyang. We’re not in a dark situation, a blackout.”
But his State Department warned progress did not appear to be forthcoming.
A spokeswoman said: “North Korean officials have shown no indication that they are interested in or are ready for talks regarding denuclearization.”
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Mr Tillerson’s remarks followed a day of meetings in Beijing, where Chinese officials has been alarmed by the ever-tightening spiral of threat and counter-threat between Kim and Mr Trump.
However US officials say China is at fault, due to its seeming unwillingness to cut ties with its neighbour, who relies on Beigjin for 90 per cent of its foreign trade.
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Donald Trump, who is due to visit China in November for North Korea crunch talks, has called for the country to do more to stop the hermit state.
In a bid to deflect this criticism and pander to Mr Trump’s ego, Chinese President Xi Jinping offered warm words to America when he met Mr Tillerson today.
President Xi said he expected Mr Trump’s visit to be “wonderful” and said the pair enjoyed “a good working relationship and personal friendship”.