Tillerson, in Apparent U-Turn, Says North Korea Must ‘Earn’ Its Way to Talks

Three days after striking a conciliatory tone, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said the North must stop nuclear threats before any possible talks.

Comments: 119

  1. When the most powerful nation in the world becomes the most inconsistent nation in the world no problems will be solved, but they will get worse. What is particularly obnoxious here is that the world is talking about a serious nuclear threat, and the Trump administration acts like they are playing a game of marbles. Any American who voted for this and doesn't, by now, see clearly the foolishness of that vote, doesn't see the complete chaos they ushered in, should sign up for the military and go serve in South Korea.

  2. This is one reason the US should have mandatory military service for all. If your kids were on the line, people might think a bit past their small, little minds to a broader view of the impact of their actions on he world.

  3. Hear! Hear!

  4. Media reports conflict each other, but it does not necessarily mean there were an old and then a new course. Mr. Tillerson said no precondition for NK because U.S. would not accept precondition imposed by NK. It is reciprocal no-precondition, but misreported as unilateral no-precondition in the first place and now corrected. There is no news.

  5. Let's see, can we set any more road blocks to calming the situation with North Korea? What will Trump & Tillerson do next to provoke nuclear war? The mind boggles. I am beginning to think it isn't just Bush who is a "moron".

  6. Someone educate me, Why does it matter if North Korea has nuclear weapons. Many nations do. Would acknowledging them as a nuclear power and working to integrate them into the world stage be easier?

  7. Responding to Kim Jong-un's manic volatility with the elasticity of strength is a problem? Surely a resolute, tunnel-visioned approach wouldn't work. Continuing to push him to civility was what we wanted all along wasn't it? Obama starving his "consituents" didn't work, did it?

  8. Tillerson has been such a disappointment. Maybe he's one of the grownups in the room but he's gutted the department and hasn't made appointments. One friend called it CEO syndrome. That said, he works for the worst boss in the world and perhaps his humiliation at Trump's small hands is punishment enough for his hubris in thinking he knows more than he does. Doubtful that anyone else would have done better.

  9. Not a great position to be in: the laughingstock of the world. But when a country's leading diplomat can't even speak for the government he represents, then how in the world is the rest of the international community to understand? Rex, time to go home. It was a nice try. Go count your millions. The National Embarrassment made a mistake picking you for the job. The nation made a mistake picking the National Embarrassment for his job. But the two of you at the same time? It's just too much. So long.

  10. I can't keep track of what Tillerson proclaims and then does an about face on. Was it a good policy overruled or a bad policy recognized? But I fear the worst in this case because of who he must do this dance with or get fired and Trump keeps digging further into the sludge to find replacements.

  11. If I was Kim Jong-un right now and thinking logically -- a tall order for him I admit -- I’d be saying to myself why should I bother to attack anybody when the U.S. is busy destroying itself politically and socially; and all I have to do is stick around for a few more months or years until it finishes the job; and then do anything in Asia I want to do.

  12. TIllerson just sent his sanity and his one saving grace out the window. Most bullying nation in the world I guess would equate with most powerful.

  13. Whichever position on North Korea makes the best sense, how can any country do business with such unpredictably volatile massaging where even the same senior White House figure reverses position within three days of having staked out a position in the first place? Is this a "good cop-bad cop" game designed for ages 3 through 6? With global nuclear incineration at stake, this is what passes for American foreign policy. It is unhinged.

  14. It is starting to look like Senator Graham might be right, war is coming. This would be a big problem for any administration. Sadly, the world now depends on the "best people" managed by what could be most charitably called a mentally and emotionally challenged man; and it is looking like a disaster in the making. Be afraid.

  15. Sadly, Priest, you're wrong. Remember Little George Bush and his three -year-old glee at being able to say "I'm a wartime President!" ? These boneheads believe war gives them super powers, that the country must, by law, fall in line behind them and let them do whatever they want.

  16. Way to deliver a consistent message there, Rex.

  17. Tex Tillerson may not realize the USA has never invaded or attacked a country which has nuclear weapons.

  18. The disarray and ltotal lack of coordination between Trump and the State Department would be a huge story if it happened in any other previous administration, because - it is! But with so many other scandals that Trump has initiated and encouraged, this extremely important concern has been reduced to the back pages. Imagine if this room place during the previous administration, it would constantly be in the headlines. Now we are talking mostly about a groping president instead.

  19. More saber rattling, as distraction. Donald, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the Oval Office. Bigly.

  20. Why doesn't Tillerson resign and save what's left of his dignity? He's mauling the State Department, he has no relationship, other than a bad one, with the Fool in the White House and he's a laughing stock around the world. Just leave.

  21. Are you prepared for the uber-neocon Nikki Haley as his replacement?

  22. This worries me deeply. It seems as if regular citizens are more prudent and concerned than our foolish president. Who is leading our country? Where is the sane and calming voice? Where is the intellect? It's not there. Just a void between these ludicrous and stupid Twitter tweets. No one is running the show. Does the world know that most of us here in the US do not want any part of this? I hope they know. We don't think this way. We want a world of peace. Why don't the North Koreans rise up? When will this happen? We have to help these people. That's how I feel. We can't bomb them. We will suffer terribly too. That's the end I see if this does not stop.

  23. "prudent...sane...calming..."? In other words, Obama help us!!

  24. I agree with you; the North Koreans are living in dire, even inhuman conditions. The guy who escaped recently to South Korea, being shot at (and hit several times) by North Korean guards, he had his guts full of worms, suffered from tuberculosis and hepatitis B. Nevertheless he had still enough energy to make his escape a success. But what about his familiy members now? Or friends? Will they survive the ordeal?

  25. This guy is in way over his head; not only is he selling his soul to scoundrel Trump, he is making the United States an international joke.

  26. With every treaty it breaks, with every illegal act of aggression,with every threat it makes to weaker countries to extort their cooperation, the US only increases the degree of the joke it became long ago.

  27. It seems that N.Korea thinks it has earned a place at the table by building its Nukes. Don't force them into more tests. Whether its Ukraine or Putin himself smuggling the tech over, they have shown they can make it work. This regime doesn't seem to react well to being at the end of a pointy stick.

  28. How many times does your boss have to over rule you and make you look like an idiot before you quit ?

  29. Apparent U-turn? Really? The lapdog got slapped by his master, more like it.

  30. Slapped by his master indeed. Nothing like being taken out to the woodshed in view of other diplomats and the public. Who in their right mind would work for this poor example of an admimstration? I believe I answered my own question.

  31. Tillerson has become an object of contempt and ridicule. No one can take his word on US policy, which makes him useless as a Secretary of State. Instead of making policy and representing it to the world, he is an apparatchik whose job is to diminish and degrade the department he was supposed to lead. Trump dragged him down as he eventually does all those who serve him.

  32. Right you are!

  33. How do you deal with a leader who develops videos of American cities burning and millions of people dying, while his citizens in Pyonghang, happily applaud. Mr Kim has made a pledge to his citizens to deliver a nuclear bomb on US cities. Its really just a matter of time before he delivers the blow to one of our cities.

  34. And how do you deal with a leader who in less than ten minutes could single-handedly launch over 8000 nuclear weapons? BOTH are insane scenarios. I suggest our stepping back to far fewer weapons would be a welcome first step.

  35. Trump Inc. is soaring points with their dwindling domestic base with this sort of unhelpful but tough sounding posture.

  36. The emptiest of threats. Just like his boss, empty of soul, intelligence, and the ability to negotiate. We're going to end up bankrupt and scorned, just like him.

  37. If, and I hope this never happens, the Trump twitter tantrums escalates into a nuclear exchange with North Korea, how will Ms. Huckabee Sanders, Secretary ( for now) Tillerson and Twitter Trump spin this and who will Trump blame? I believe Secretary Tillerson should decamp the Trump Side Show while he still has some respect to escape any blame should that time come. Lastly, with our dysfunctional “president” I do not believe anyone could effectively in world affairs. And to think Trump inherited a nightmare.

  38. Obviously, the oval office chastised Tillerson for his previous statement about talking with North Korea "without precondition." I think this is all part of Trump's plan to humiliate Tillerson and to force his resignation so that the CIA's Mike Pompeo can take over and a Trump political toady can be installed as head of the CIA.

  39. If Tillerson knows he's on the way out and is malcontent with the Trump bombast and foreign policy world view, the fire and fury diplomacy, then why doesn't he just come out and say "I'm sticking to what I said, we'll talk to get to know each other and build trust and convey that we want what's best for both Koreas, Japan and the US. If the Norh gets belligerent, I'll just remind them we can wipe them off the map in an afternoon."

  40. We - the USA - have 6,800 Atomic bombs. They - North Korea - have between 5 and 20 Atomic bombs. I think we have a few more killer bombs than they do. We would lose nothing if we sat down with them and worked out a solution which will avoid the death of millions of people - mostly South and North Koreans, Japanese citizens in Japan, and American soldiers in South Korea. We will not lose "face" if we take the high road. In fact, we will be praised by most countries and people in the world. Unfortunately, Mr. Trump is a man whose words are bellicose but who is really a coward and knows that he is, so he might look forward to a "war" that would kill tens of millions in order to puff up his ego. He wouldn't really care much about those who would die. I pray for a peaceful resolution!

  41. Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, was glaringly absent from the Security Council meeting.

  42. No one on planet earth believes anything Mr. Tillerson says. That won't bode well for him as he interviews for new jobs soon.

  43. Tillerson’s initial comments scared me. I honestly thought it was a ruse to soften North Korea’s military posture. But they turned out to be a product of the ongoing Trump administration dysfunction. This means a war is more likely to happen by accident and miscalculation then by design.

  44. What qualifies Tillerson to be a diplomatic world expert, and what's his grab in all of this mess? How will we ever recover from the mistakes and entitlement of this administration?

  45. Well, Tillerson has decided there aren’t enough communication channels, so why bother? Anyway, Trump may need a REALLY BIG diversion pretty soon, so we don’t want to undermine that potential saving distraction by making headway on normalizing matters.

  46. Let me translate for Mr. Tillerson. "I care more about keeping my job than I do about fulfilling my job responsibilities in a thoughtful, consistent way." I can't imagine what foreign leaders are thinking when they communicate with Mr. Tillerson or with President Trump. Neither cares today what was said yesterday and neither seems to understand that words and commitments matter.

  47. I watched the Secretary on Cspan. And it was a good statement. This report omits his condemnation of China. The Chinese may attempt to sound like "marriage counselors" - but they have tipped the one party, North Korea into believing that its interests will be protected. I was divorced once and also had a marriage counseling. It is often said that if one spouse is determined to seek a revenge, the best payback by the other party is - to live better than when married. The USA will live better once this little rocket man meets that proverbial grave of all dictators.

  48. It matters little what anyone -- whether from China, Russia, the US, France, the UK or even Mauritania -- says about the North Korean nuclear program. Pyongyang has opted for a showdown and is going to call the bluff of the western world. Pyongyang will NEVER negotiate away its nuclear and missile programs. It is now up to western leaderships to shape public perceptions of the threat from North Korea. If we in the west blink, you can rest assured that in a year or so, North Korea will be able to place a nuclear warhead atop an ICBM. This is something they cannot do at the moment, according to US defense intelligence estimates. If we in the west blink, we will be paying the price for the foreseeable future. Remember, in May of 1940 the UK opted to confront Nazi Germany, and as a result we live today in freedom. In sum, the choice is ours. Pyongyang already has made clear its position.

  49. OK, North Korea has nuclear weapons and soon the capacity for sending them our way. So do many other countries. None of them have because they know that the US response will destroy them. On the other hand, bombing the North will in turn destroy South Korea, possibly Japan and definitely tens of thousands of American military and civilians living in the South. It's stupid to start a war with North Korea, but should they seriously threaten the US, that's another story.

  50. I think that Frank Haydn doesn't know his history. The Soviet Union fielded 34,500,000 military with a death rate of almost one third. World War Two was won and lost on the Eastern Front. The Red Army won and the Wehrmacht lost. Britain, by comparison, did not play the decisive role in defeating Hitler. Your conclusion seems to be "give war a chance". Well, there about 20,000,000 South Koreans in the vicinity of Seoul that might view things differently. Fighting to the last drop of someone else's blood is a rather perverse approach to world politics.

  51. Seriously? North Korea is not the only country to ever drop nuclear weapons on another. North Korea didn't recently invade a country that never attacked it (Iraq) because they wanted to change its regime. And North Korea didn't bomb another country who had recently persuaded it to give up its nuclear weapons program (Libya). But North Korea did learn something by watching those things happen--something about how to deter the country that did all those things, and now threatens it with destruction. Your history is a little weak. England and France went to war with Germany in the fall of 1939 because they had mutual defense treaties (albeit weak ones) with Poland, which had just been invaded. England did not launch a preemptive war on Germany because it rattled sabres, as you seem to want the US to do against N. Korea. Yes, the choice is ours. Whether to use the same containment strategy that has avoided nuclear war since 1945, or to launch a war that will kill millions because it doesn't like another country's attitude.

  52. To North Korea, Tillerson and Trump sound like a duck: "Quack, quack quack". There has never been a society more insanely devoted to self-reliance than North Korea, and in North Korea's view they haven't done too badly with it, if you don't count the cost of the millions starved, killed and imprisoned. They don't need a deal with us and certainly not with Rex Tillerson or Donald T.

  53. His days are numbered. Just like his boss. (We hope).

  54. Wake up everybody. These guys are out of control. Trump is willfully stumbling towards starting a nuclear war with North Korea without public debate of the consequences and without a mandate from Congress. "It’s become a grim ritual in Washington foreign-policy circles to assess the chances that the United States and North Korea stumble into war. But on Wednesday Lindsey Graham did something different: He estimated the odds that the Trump administration deliberately strikes North Korea first, to stop it from acquiring the capability to target the U.S. mainland with a long-range, nuclear-tipped missile. And the senator’s numbers were remarkably high. “I would say there’s a three in 10 chance we use the military option,” Graham predicted in an interview. If the North Koreans conduct an additional test of a nuclear bomb—their seventh—“I would say 70 percent.” See yesterday's Atlantic interview with Senator Lindsay Graham for a detailed picture of what is going on in the back rooms of the White House: https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/12/lindsey-graham...

  55. Long ago under Trump, the Republican Congress gave up their constitutional mandate to be one-third of our government. Now they do NOTHING but whine and argue among themselves. We are going downhill faster and faster, America............

  56. I’m not sure if Tillerson is trying to keep a job he isn’t good at or if he is someone with bad parenting skills.

  57. How do you negotiate with someone who says one thing and then another very next day? Tillerson/Trump duo is just making fool of themselves, and the US in the process. And we'll have to endure this comedy for 4 more years.

  58. Tillerson's boss undercut him completely and publicly. Anyone with the smallest spark of self-respect would resign. What is wrong with that man? How could anyone be so abject?

  59. Trump is a metaphorical castrator. Very effective . Doesn't work with worn.

  60. Look at this great negotiator. We'll negotiate with you if you give us everything we want first. Very Republican.

  61. There is no point to talk. What for? Stop fooling ourselves. The end game for NK is to develop the weapons so the international community will be forced to accept its legitimacy. After that, Kim will secure his leadership position for a long time. He is not going to bomb anyone. He is just a paper tiger. With all the power, ladies and money he is enjoying, tell me he is going to throw them away just to make a suicidal statement? Come on. He might be immature but he is not stupid. Trump is doing the right thing. Uncertainty is a good strategy and the will to use military force is the ultimate key to peace. US should enforce and strengthen sanctions. Military excercises should be more often. Military family members and non-essential US personnel should return home. US should make announcement that US will not participate the Winter Olympic game. Sure, NK can starve its own people. But it will not last forever. US must have the might and determination this time. No talk. "Do whatever you want but don't try me". Before the end of the second term of Trump Presidency, NK will collapse. USSR was much more dangerous and powerful. But it collapsed ultimately. NK will no doubt follow the same path. In the end, it can only take a Trump to solve the NK crisis left behind by others.

  62. Trump doesn't have the slightest idea what he's doing. Kim knows that any conflict will kill thousands of people in South Korea. He's simply baiting our incompetent leader by making threats. The U.S. will do nothing to shut down North Korea, which is nowhere near collapse. Only China can shut down North Korea, and it sees no reason to. Trump is an infant playing with the big boys.

  63. So sad to have a puppet like Tillerson as the Secretary of State of this nation! I also don't understand a deficient intellect like him managed to run ExxonMobil? Is the USA just a hot air ballon that did not explode yet just by chance (an incredible but possible low probability event)?

  64. So, the “good cop - bad cop” strategy has been replaced by the “crazy cop - clueless cop” strategy?

  65. North Korea for their own safety cannot let go of their nuclear program. Of course, if I were them I would do the dame seeing what Americans have done with Korea being the reason why of the separation between South and North. USA has almost 325.5 million people and South Korea 51.25 million people and North Korea 25.37 million people. North Korea is extremely concern about being eaten alive by USA and other peripheral countries and that is the reason for their nuclear power threat right now. In a nutshell, we see that Trump does not support Rex Tillerson and that is wrong from Trump, which shows his total stupidity and incompetence at all levels. The one who is insane is Donald Trump a lot more than Kim Jung Un whom right now is doing everything in his own way - like his father and grand-father) to prevent the destruction of North Korea. I do not approve of his way of running his country but I can see his point. Americans are very, very juvenile if they believe in Trump as a mediator since he is not working for the sake of the Americans' prosperity. Period. He is greedy and insane. On January 20, 2017, he signed his own personal failure because he gambled his life on the count of other people's lives in order to save his personal assets working for a foreign country i.e. as Moscow's proxy administration.

  66. He is a Russian agent., no one is allowed to say this.

  67. The "awkward gulf" between Secretary of Stae Tillerson and President Trump is just one more indication that Tillerson will be replaced pretty soon. There is also an awkward gulf between our president and most of the American people, who would like him to be repealed and replaced quicker than you can say Jack Robinson or "Tillerson is wasting his time" trying to open diplomatic channels to the D.P.R.K.

  68. Kim is not interested in the United States or Japan: Kim will strike China. He has enough power to knock out the nuclear bombs in Chiha... and then he will be the second largest power in the world. Trump will claim he knows this or that ... but yet the people who should have warned him about it ... failed ... they all failed .... and when Trump gets finished with them .. .there will be a recall, a redo and we will have the best intelligence in the world ... hopefully that is before he is charged with Treason.

  69. Why on earth would NK attack the one country in the world that stands by their side?? NK uses their nuclear status as a deterrence and is vocal about it, referring to the fate of other nations that fell into the trap of believing the US when they acquiesced to denuclearization and immediately afterward had their leadership removed and killed.

  70. Next week. In apparent U-Turn, Trump says Tillerson must "Earn" his job.

  71. Trump: You have to stop your nuclear program or I will bring upon you fire and fury like the world has never seen. Kim: I don't believe you. Trump: Would you believe a surprise strike from a nuclear sub hidden somewhere in that big ocean water? Kim: No. Trump: How about Rex Tillerson at the border, ready to talk you to death?

  72. A)Tillerson can not effectively carry out the duties of his position, because his boss neither respects him or the position he holds. This contributes to a dysfunctional relationship, and no chain of command. Tillerson's position is constantly negated whenever Trump takes a contradicting opinion. There is no legitimacy to Tillerson as the president undercuts and undermines him at every turn. B) Trump has no sincere faith in any diplomatic resolution to the Korean Peninsula crisis. He has refused to nominate an ambassador to the South. He has declared inflammatory and war-hounding barks against the North at every opportunity. He does not engage in any multilateral processes to de-escalate the situation. He does not seem to beware of the potential human costs of a war on the peninsula. C) There needs to be a new secretary of state. One that not only can effectively lead the department, but also retain some semblance of respect from the president. A secretary who can neither work with his boss or his employees is one that needs to go.

  73. Amateur hour at the White House. More like the Gong Show

  74. Nah....there were a few intelligent people on the Gong Show.

  75. What part of "I'm the only one" [Trump commenting on the vacancies at the State Dept] doesn't Tillerson understand?

  76. Hey, Trump, and now Tillerson; stop acting like blow-hards, and toying with my life, and the lives of my children. How about consistent, thoughtful, and productive policy instead of brinksmanship; hard to enjoy all those projected tax cut economic"benefits" if we're reduced to ash by our belligerent leader.

  77. well said!

  78. Ciao Edna, What would you suggest? Mr Trump and Mr Tillerson, like their predecessors, have been ineffective, so I am sure everyone in the world would be delighted to know what consistent, thoughtful and productive policy initiatives you would propose. Be serious, this intractable problem is beyond any reasonable, civilized solution. The Kung Fu Panda Dictator is going to get a seat at the table of international power or he is going to wreck horrible damage on: the USA, South Korea, Japan, fill in the blank. The question is are we willing to play a game of chicken with him. I suggest we are not. North Korea will be seated at the table and then we will see if there is going to be a future world of global nuclear chess, which will most certainly be reduced to such a low common denominator to include the lone radical. The genni is already out of the bottle. Ce' va.

  79. The US and North Korea continue to compete for the Banal Belligerence Trophy that Trump promises to dedicate to US Hurricane victims.

  80. Tillerson is a joke. Trump is a joke. Our country is a joke. SAD

  81. Is Trump the Useful Idiot of Putin? Is Tillerson the useful Idiot of Trump? Enquiring minds wish to know... ExonMobil CEO, what a joke...

  82. I was proud of Rex for calling Trump a moron- but as the saying goes.. it takes one to know one..

  83. Mr. Tillerson - the North Koreans have nuclear weapons. For them, that means they need to earn nothing and can go to that table when and if they please. That was the point of their having nuclear weapons.

  84. There's no longer a military option with North Korea. Despite the claims of McMaster, Mattis, and Trump, deterrence works. It worked with Stalin and Mao and it will work with Kim as well.

  85. President Queeg will brook no discussion, no dissent. The ship is foundering yet he shouts "full speed ahead!"

  86. Tillerson was right the first time. Somebody has to break through the you-first barrier to talks, and America should be morally more capable of doing that than a tin-pot dictatorship. Each side regards the other as the gratuitously belligerent one. That feeling seems to be as genuine on the North Korean side as on the American, and not without some historical justification. It's no use trying to sort out which side "started it" and ought to stop first. The implicit threat from North Korea's weapons is not going away, even if the verbal threats do. The important thing is to make a bee-line for the table, now. As Winston Churchill declared, "To jaw-jaw is better than to war-war."

  87. It's difficult to imagine a more incompetent and dangerous administration. The elections of 2018 seem very far away indeed. Be sure to make the most of Christmas 2017 with your family and loved ones.

  88. The very idea of nuclear conflict is terrifying enough. Add to that an inexperienced team of people led by a narcissistic bully whose sole goal is self enrichment . Then factor in the part that nearly everything else this team pursues is detrimental to our nation. Now, what is more terrifying?

  89. When I heard Tillerson say that talks with North Korea could start without preconditions, I thought it was the most sensible thing I had heard from this maladministration. I should have known it would not prove to be true.

  90. NKorea must earn its way to talks? In which planet does Tillerson live? As I recall NKorea made it clear that any talk will require first a change in US attitude (stop the embargo), not the other way around. NKorea also made it very clear they have NO intention of renouncing their nuclear program. Why would they?

  91. Here's a different perspective. President Trump has not appointed an ambassador to the Republic of Korea, which is probably a good thing. the embassy is under the leadership of Marc Knapper, Chargé d'Affaires ad interim, who was the Deputy Chief of Mission prior to the inauguration of President Trump. He is a member of the Senior Foreign Service with extensive experience that makes him very well qualified for the job. I suspect the leadership of the Republic of Korea doesn't take President Trump and Secretary Tillerson very seriously, but that's OK, because they probably have a great deal of trust and faith in Mr. Knapper. There are huge numbers of highly qualified and effective public servants who continue to toil without publicity while doing the peoples' work. So take heart America! The Trump & Tillerson Circus shall eventually be a thing of the past, and the United States will not be much the worse for wear.

  92. The key point here is the President has no faith in negotiations with NK. And why not? Because the NK position is that they will be a Nuclear State that can deliver its weapons anyway. Either we accept that or not. Diplomacy will go nowhere. Sanctions may but I DOUBT IT. You can be sencial or nonsensical in our approach and still get the same outcome. Trump,Tillerson or the Pope are not going to budge NK from its goal. Sorry to be so pessimistic but unless there is a change in NK leadership that is the way it is going to be.

  93. It seems crazy, but I think our best chance of reaching an agreement with North Korea is to send Dennis Rodman to try to reach an agreement with them. He already has a relationship with them and is one of the few Americans who can treat them with respect. It would be nice if President Carter would accompany Rodman to help him with the details. I'm not offering this as some kind of joke. It just seems to me that Rodman has better judgment than either Trump or Tillerson and whatever Rodman lacks in skills would be more than made up for by the presence of President Carter.

  94. Japan has a history of antagonizing the US and getting megalomaniac, whose role is now being taken up by North Korea. I think I can understand Kim Jong-un's psychology as well as Hirohito's then as a person consumed by a grandiose fiction of his own making. What is sad to see is Japan's acting like a retainer of the US; she should act like a mediator utilizing her own experience. The US too. Remember Pearl Harbor isn't a warmongering slogan, is it?

  95. There's no clearer evidence that Tillerson and Trump don't talk about critical issues facing them and develop a unified strategy than this turnaround by Tillerson. How can the Secretary of State offer no condition talk start ups with North Korea one day and a few days later say preconditions must be met?! Don't T & T talk at all? World leaders must perceive the disconnect in this country's leadership. It all starts with Trump who very obviously doesn't know how to lead an organization except by fiat. Only a totalitarian country can be run that way -- and often not successfully. Even an authoritarian country such as China does not have a leader who makes policy arbitrarily but has a coordinated group of organizational leaders who impose the President's policy. No democracy will retain any world standing which operates in the way we see Tillerson and Trump operating. U.S. world leadership appears irresponsible at critical moments.

  96. US has 100 weapons to NK's 1. Yet US is saying NK threatening US security. What kind of maths is Americans and westerners learning in school ?

  97. Dear Case123, The math is that if a nuclear bomb is detonated in LA by North Korea it will be a disaster on such a scale that North Korea's annihilation will be a horrible bookend of global consequences that so far no one has been able to calculate.

  98. Tillerson asking Trump: You want me to decide what to tell North Korea? Right, take a Left.

  99. Let us think of Tillerson as a natural disaster.

  100. Everyone, even Tillerson, seems to be waiting for 2020 when a real president takes office.

  101. North Korea will not give up its nukes. The little guy know what we do to leaders who give up their nukes. So we will have to begin with acknowledging them as a nuclear power. Then negotiate from there. We should do that soon.

  102. Tillerson was made Secretary of State because of his Russia connections. Diplomacy? Forget it. As they say, all politics is local. North Korean is too valuable as the demon Trump can continuously malign to promote his creds that he's the real tough in the room as Mueller's investigation deepens. Why would Trump want to spoil that? Tillerson thinks that he's going to sit down and talk with the North Koreans? Never gonna happen.

  103. f understand the symbolism here. Presumably North Korea wants the equal standing with us thag would be implied in bi-lateral talks, the international prestige that would be gained by one on one talks with the USA. We , on the other hand don;t want to elevate them to the status of a Russia or China by holding such talks. Hence they are told they have to "earn" such talks by good behavior. I am sure this is highly motivating,.But if we can;t talk publicly I sure hope we are having at least secret back channel talks, if nothing else talks about talking.

  104. Wandering aimlessly. Ineffectual. Goodbye Mr. T.

  105. “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations.” - UN Charter, Article 51. Though establishing a concise definition for “armed attack” eluded U.N. founders, analysts have traditionally relied on presence of a “free bullet” (once a bullet has left a gun’s barrel, it’s impossible for either the attacker or the attacked to stop it) to qualify a state of armed attack. Because ICBMs, within minutes, become unstoppable “free bullets”, Tillerson must apply to the UN Security Council for approval to shoot down future DPRK missile tests upon liftoff. Failure to establish this precedent under the auspices of the UN not only enables Kim’s ambitions, but DPRK to sell nuclear weapons to other rogue states. What would Iran pay for a ready-made, tested nuclear weapon? We have reached a tipping point where continued inaction virtually guarantees the likelihood of nuclear war.

  106. Hey Tillerson, make them an agreement that there will be a bi-lateral disarmament of nuclear programs!!!! Yeh, that's what I thought.

  107. GreedRulesUS - But...but...but...Putin will still have nuclear weapons...oh!

  108. It is obvious that Tillerson is being told what to say and do. Donald Dumb's owners and donors are running the show, and one day soon our Banana Republic will be complete, and our government will have been dismantled. Likely leader (dictator) will be Bannon. And then will come the nuclear wars started in N. Korea. Dark times ahead, Folks.......

  109. I watched Japanese television news dutifully report that Tillerson said there were "no pre-conditions" to begin talks with North Korea. That they could "talk about the weather" if that's what North Korea wanted. Tillerson was translated and quoted as verbatim as possible, and most Japanese viewers know exactly the diplomatic importance of the term "no pre-conditions" in this case. Apparently, now those very certain and very important words were meaningless. How can we as a country possibly expect to be taken seriously on the world stage when such "U-turns" take place so quickly with respect to such emergent and dangerous circumstances? The amount of international goodwill we have squandered in less than one year is truly mind boggling and frightening.

  110. "“A sustained cessation of North Korea’s threatening behavior must occur before talks can begin,”" More fluff. The west wing is full of idiots who think they can bluff their way into NK giving up their nukes. It's not going to happen. WH has zero credibility in domestic or foreign policy. Bunch of thieves lining their pockets.

  111. Stupid is the new smart. Empires don't go on for ever and the American experiment is way past the sell date. From Dubya to Trump. Dumb and dumber. The great slide...from Jefferson to Lincoln to Teddy to FDR to THIS. My head hurts when I think about it. Very...very...people are saying....

  112. Neocons in the WH have been gunning for Tillerson, the one guy who stands against their Iran warmongering, from day one.

  113. And, in the meantime, China and SOUTH Korea are getting closer..... Nice move Trump, you did great for the reunification of the Korean peninsula.....under the Chinese's umbrella though. Japan should not like it

  114. Trump and Tlllerson, Zip and Zap in the international community, continue to show the world that our government is led by incompetent fools. Listen to Mattis and start taking rational diplomatic action. Trump needs to put his macho ego in a box, call back the experienced State Department diplomats that have left in disgust, and initiate talks with North Korea. Find out what it will take to stop the saber rattling and make a deal.

  115. This is reflective of trump policy coherency on all issues.

  116. The blind, supercilious arrogance of John Foster Dulles continues its resurgence in Asia. Smart move for an increasingly failed nation. Will the United States soon be a vassal of China and Russia? And this by the uber-patriotic Republican Party?!

  117. It is too late to stop North Korea from having nuclear-armed ICBMs. North Korea is not going to disarm. Preventing an accidental war is the job at hand. Damnit, Trump, focus.

  118. Has anybody actually *read* this article? The most important news it contains is not the same old Tillerson/Trump reality TV show. It's the fact that the UN Sec General actually sent one of his top aides, Jeffrey D. Feltman, Undersecretary for Political Affairs, to Pyongyang. There, Feltman ACTUALLY spoke to senior DPRK officials to find out what the substance would be for negotiations further down the line and to establish a military to military hot line to dampen the risks of conflict. This is a significant diplomatic achievement. Instead of hitching ourselves to the double-crossing, 'not in our national interest' China/Russia "freeze for freeze" mediators, why don't we work with the UN Secretary General's office? Undersecretary Feltman clearly knows how to open the diplomatic doors. This was the first high level visit by a UN official since 2011. It proves that negotiations are possible. You just need diplomats with intelligence, deep experience and skill.

  119. If the above article on the expertise of North Korea is at all accurate, we have to prepare for a world in which a number of potentially unfriendly powers are armed with nuclear weapons. Even if we have an overwhelming number of nukes, North Korea can easily destroy Seoul and TokyoTokyo, and launch IBM toward American targets. We learned once to live with an unfriendly USSR. Cannot we do that again?