US 'probing' N Korea's interest in dialogue

Oct 01, 2017, 12:12 IST | Agencies

Secretary of State says US is in 'direct contact' with the North, and his goal is to 'calm things down' in the standoff over the country's nuke programme

US has open channels of communication with North Korea and is investigating whether the regime is ready to enter talks on giving up its nuclear weapons programme, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said yesterday. Tillerson's disclosure follows an escalating war of words between US President Donald Trump and North Korean strongman Kim Jong-Un. "We are probing, so stay tuned," he told reporters after talks with Chinese officials in Beijing. "We ask. We have lines of communication with Pyongyang. We are not in a dark situation, a blackout, we have a couple, three channels open to Pyongyang."

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (left) with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting in Beijing. Pics/AFP
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (left) with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting in Beijing. Pics/AFP

Kim Jong-Un
Kim Jong-Un

Asked whether China was acting as a go-between for the contacts, Tillerson said: "Our own channels." Tillerson spoke after an afternoon of talks with China's top diplomats and President Xi Jinping centred on the nuclear crisis and preparations for Trump's visit to Beijing in November. Before Tillerson revealed the diplomatic opening, a North Korean state body that handles external propaganda lobbed a new insult at Trump, calling the US leader an "old psychopath" on "a suicidal act of inviting a nuclear disaster that will reduce America into a sea of flames".

'North Korea seen moving missiles'
Seoul: Several North Korean missiles were recently spotted moved from a rocket facility in the capital Pyongyang, South Korea's Korean Broadcasting System reported late Friday amid speculation that the hermit nation was preparing to take more provocative actions. The report did not say when or where they had been moved.

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