Tillerson's remarks Tuesday came two weeks after North Korea conducted a test with a missile that could potentially carry a nuclear warhead to the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un vowed to "win victory in the showdown" against the USA with his rapidly advancing nuclear arsenal, state media said Wednesday, after the country's latest missile test heightened global tensions. "We have said, from the diplomatic side, we are ready to talking anytime North Korea would like to talk, and we are ready to have the first meeting without preconditions ***** So we need the DPRK to come to the table for talks".
It should be noted that he did go on to specify one precondition: a "period of quiet" without any new North Korean nuclear bomb detonations or missile tests.
Feltman met with North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Ho and Vice Foreign Minister Pak Myong-Kuk during his visit to Pyongyang over the weekend - the first by a high-ranking United Nations official since 2011. Not long after this revelation, President Donald Trump tweeted that attempting to talk to "Rocket Man" Kim Jong Un is a complete waste of time. He said it would be "tough to talk" if Pyongyang made a decision to test another device in the middle of discussions and that "a period of quiet" would be needed for productive discussions. Trump in October had told Tillerson that he is "wasting his time" trying to negotiate with the North. Senior administration officials said late last month that Trump was considering a plan to oust Tillerson, though the secretary of state has dismissed that.
Tillerson's overture came almost two weeks after North Korea said it had successfully tested a breakthrough intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that put the entire United States mainland within range. Tillerson said it's unrealistic to say the USA would only engage in dialogue with Pyongyang on the condition the regime abandons its nuclear development program. Before Tillerson's comments, Pyongyang had hinted at the possibility of engaging in dialogue with the United States.