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Tillerson: U.S. is 'long ways' from negotiations with N. Korea

All Headlines 02:04 March 09, 2018

WASHINGTON, March 8 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday that negotiations with North Korea are still a far reach as the two sides have yet to meet face to face.

Speaking in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the top U.S. diplomat was commenting on North Korea's recent willingness to discuss its nuclear weapons program with the U.S.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un conveyed the message to South Korean President Moon Jae-in's top national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, in a meeting in Pyongyang Monday.

"I think, as President Trump has indicated, potentially positive signals coming from North Korea by way of their intra-Korean dialogue with South Korea," Tillerson said at a joint press conference with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu.

"In terms of direct talks with the United States -- and you asked negotiations, and we're a long ways from negotiations," he said. "I think the first step -- and I've said this before -- is to have talks, have some kind of talks about talks, because I don't know yet, until we are able to meet ourselves face to face with representatives of North Korea, whether the conditions are right to even begin thinking about negotiations."

Chung has said Kim floated a willingness to give up his nuclear weapons program in return for security guarantees. The North Korean leader also promised to stop nuclear and ballistic missile testing while talks with the U.S. were under way, according to the adviser.

Chung arrived in Washington earlier Thursday to brief U.S. officials on his meeting with Kim.


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