Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that a potential meeting with President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin remains “under consideration.”
Tillerson said that neither leader agreed to hold a formal one-on-one meeting during a summit of Southeast Asian nations this week in Vietnam, and the issue is whether the pair has “sufficient substance” to talk about.
“When the two leaders meet, is there something sufficiently substantive?” Tillerson said. “No conclusion has been made on that,” adding that both countries are working on a “number of difficult areas.”
Meanwhile, Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov was quoted as saying that “the time (of the meeting) is being agreed on, it will take place on November 10.”
The two men met this year during a conference in Germany, with Trump confirming that the talks had gone “very well.”
Trump is currently on a tour of Asia, meeting leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Filipino leader Rodrigo Duterte, with escalating tensions high on the agenda.
While in China on Thursday, Trump called on both Russia and China to provide greater assistance in solving the North Korea nuclear crisis.
“China can fix this problem easily and quickly, and I am calling on China and your great president to hopefully work on it very hard,” Trump said. “I know one thing about your president: If he works on it hard, it will happen. There’s no doubt about it.”
“I’m also calling on Russia to help rein in this potentially very tragic situation,” he added. “We want Putin’s help on North Korea, and we’ll be meeting with a lot of different leaders.”
Putin has previously warned that further pressure against the North Korean regime could provoke a devastating war on the Korean Peninsula.
“In Russia’s opinion, the calculation that it is possible to halt North Korea’s nuclear missile programs exclusively by putting pressure on Pyongyang is erroneous and futile,” Putin said. “It is essential to resolve the region’s problems through direct dialogue involving all sides without advancing any preconditions. Provocations, pressure and bellicose and offensive rhetoric is the road to nowhere.”
Last month, Putin personally launched four ballistic missiles as part of a series of drills for Russia’s own nuclear program, although defense officials insisted the drills were not related to any current events.