North Korea Has ‘No Interest’ in Rex Tillerson’s ‘No Precondition’ Dialogue

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and North Korea leader Kim Jong-un
HANS PUNZ/AFP/Getty/AFP/Getty Images

North Korea’s state media have finally responded to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s call for bilateral talks with “no precondition,” rejecting the offer and claiming that the United States is “sneered at by the international community.”

In a column in the state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper, North Korea’s government noted that the United States has not relented on seeking Pyongyang’s abandonment of its illegal nuclear weapons program. “The DPRK has no interest in the dialogue intermittently put up by the U.S. which is sneered by the international community for failing to mind its internal affairs,” the report read.

“As the DPRK has consistently insisted, the way to solve the issue between the DPRK and the U.S. is for the U.S. to drop at an early date its heinous hostile policy, which defines the DPRK as an enemy, and co-exist peacefully with the DPRK possessed of nukes,” the commentary continues, adding that North Korea will “never put its nukes and ballistic missiles on the table of negotiations nor flinch even an inch from the already chosen road of bolstering up the nuclear force.”

State media also argued that the call for talks was an unsuccessful attempt to “shift responsibility for tensions on the Korean Peninsula to us with its dialogue offensive.”

Last week, Tillerson suggested that diplomats from both countries could come together for preliminary talks without precondition.

“We’ve said from the diplomatic side, we’re ready to talk anytime North Korea would like to talk. We are ready to have the first meeting without precondition,” he suggested, adding, “Let’s just meet, and we can talk about the weather if you want.”

Tillerson did place one precondition on the talks, despite using the phrase “no precondition”: that North Korea begin a “period of quiet” with no nuclear tests or ballistic missile launches. North Korea last attempted to test an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in November.

The offer solicited praise from the Chinese government but little from the White House, which insisted that the Trump administration’s position on talks with North Korea had not changed.

Tillerson’s efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the North Korean crisis continued Tuesday as the top diplomat traveled to Ottawa, Canada, to meet counterpart Chrystia Freeland to discuss, among other things, a multilateral response to North Korea. The Canadian government has expressed concern that it stands in the line of fire should North Korea attempt a nuclear attack on the United States.

Far-left Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also claimed that he is seeking to “play a role that the United States has chosen not to play” by inviting other rogue regimes to dialogues with North Korea. “I’ve had surprising conversations with places you wouldn’t expect, including places like Cuba, where they actually have … decent diplomatic relations with the North Korean regime,” Trudeau said early this month. “And can we pass along messages through surprising conduits? There hasn’t been huge amount of discussion around that, but it was a topic of conversation when I met President Raul Castro last year.”

North Korean state media, meanwhile, have continued to berate the United States for alleged aggression against the rogue state. KCNA argued this week that the American people are “getting vocal in their opposition to the use of force against the DPRK,” which “troubles the Trump administration and war maniacs of the U.S. military who are pining [sic] hope on the use of force, obsessed with megalomania.”

Trump, it continued, seeks to execute “bloody imperialist acts of war against humanity and civilization.”

North Korea’s state media have also published a story on its prominent place among threats facing the United States in Trump’s recently released National Security Strategy (NSS). While the typically belligerent content, when mentioned in American politics, has not yet followed, a story in KCNA noted that the NSS warns that “North Korea is developing weapons to kill millions of Americans.”

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