Tillerson admits the U.S. has direct channel of communication with North Korea

Tillerson admits the U.S. has direct channel of communication with North Korea

Tillerson admits the U.S. has direct channel of communication with North Korea

The acting USA assistant secretary of state for East Asia, Susan Thornton, told sceptical U.S. lawmakers ahead of Tillerson's trip that China appears to be on board with the plan to squeeze Pyongyang.

The US acknowledged for the first time on Saturday that it is in direct contact with North Korea over its nuclear and missile tests.

Following Tillerson's statements, the State Department said that "North Korean officials [had] shown no indication that they are interested in, or are ready for talks regarding denuclearisation", in a bid to tamp down expectations.

"We have a couple, three channels open to Pyongyang", Tillerson added, according to the report.

"We wish the people of China a joyous celebration, and peace and prosperity over the coming year", he added.

Trump said on Tuesday that the military option is "not a preferred option, but if we take that option, it will be devastating for North Korea".

Tillerson's remarks followed a day of meetings in Beijing, which has been alarmed by recent exchanges of war-like threats and personal insults between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Trump.

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The measures were in accordance with United Nations sanctions that were approved earlier in September after North Korea detonated its sixth and most powerful nuclear bomb - a test that triggered an quake felt across the border in China.

The admission by Tillerson is at least somewhat surprising considering Trump said last month on Twitter that "talking is not the answer" when it comes to North Korea.

Tillerson's stop in the Chinese capital was helping lay the preparation for a November state visit by Trump, some portion of a five-country swing through Asia.

"Our two presidents have developed a very regular and close working relationship", Tillerson told Yang. "We do talk to them", he said, without elaborating.

The fundamental point of the underlying contacts was to look for the flexibility of a few American residents detained in North Korea, in spite of the fact that U.S. authorities have disclosed to journalists that there were more extensive talks about U.S. - North Korean relations.

Trump has repeatedly urged Xi to exert more economic pressure on Pyongyang to convince the renegade regime to give up its nuclear ambitions.

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