With North Korea sending out feelers in recent days about the possibility of direct talks with the US, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson struck a conciliatory tone Tuesday, saying the US is now also ready for talks with North Korea with no preconditions.
The White House apparently wasn’t too happy with that, and today went to a very public point of issuing a correction to Tillerson’s statement, insisting that the US very much is not ready for talks with North Korea.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huakabee-Sanders insisted President Trump’s position on North Korea hasn’t changed, and that he still believes any negotiations with the country are “pointless.”
This was not the first time the White House overruled Tillerson, nominally America’s chief diplomat, on matters of diplomacy, and indeed President Trump has repeatedly singled out Tillerson for ridicule surrounding talks with North Korea, insisting he is “wasting his time,” and that North Korea “only understands on thing.”
North Korea’s advancing missile program seemingly makes a unilateral US attack on them too risky, likely provoking a devastating nuclear retaliation, though President Trump’s very public aversion of actual diplomacy with the country appears to be as solid as ever.