Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made a dramatic shift from previous U.S. rhetoric on Tuesday, declaring that the United States will not attempt to impose preconditions to diplomatic talks with North Korea. Tillerson’s frank statements regarding his willingness to engage with Kim Jong Un’s reclusive regime stands in direct contrast of President Trump’s public position to this point, which has been a conspicuously harder line than previous administrations.
In what amounted to a public invitation made my America’s senior diplomat, Tillerson made it clear that early talks do not need to be heavy in content, but rather, his goal is merely to begin with engagement itself.
“We’ve said from the diplomatic side, we’re ready to talk anytime North Korea would like to talk,” Tillerson said. “We are ready to have the first meeting without precondition. Let’s just meet, and we can talk about the weather if you want.”
Tillerson offered this olive branch before the Atlantic Council in Washington, but was certainly aware that his statements would reach the Supreme Leader of what is now arguably a nuclear North Korea.