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McMaster contradicts Tillerson on doable talks with North Korea

Nationwide Safety Adviser H.R. McMaster on Wednesday dismissed the proposal Secretary of State Rex Tillerson floated Tuesday that the U.S. is open to talks with North Korea with out situations. He instructed reporting on Tillerson’s remarks was incorrect — though the feedback got here straight from Tillerson in a public discussion board. 

McMaster framed the proposal for doable talks as a part of a course of, not an finish in and of itself. 

“I do know there’s some reporting yesterday about Secretary Tillerson stated we’re open to initiating negotiations, however these negotiations should not—or talks, you already know—can be, should not an finish in and of themselves, and there can be no preconditions to these—when he stated there will likely be no preconditions, what meaning is, we’re not going to alleviate, we’re not going to alleviate any strain on North Korea or give in to any calls for they may make for payoffs,” McMaster stated Wednesday in remarks on the Jamestown Basis. 

The nationwide safety adviser additionally stated that as a result of North Korea “is a regime that makes use of extortion on a routine foundation as part of their coverage,” there’s a singular purpose the U.S. should pursue — denuclearization. 

“Denuclearization is the one viable goal and if all of us concentrate on that, we now have a robust likelihood for fulfillment,” McMaster stated. 

However the “reporting” McMaster questioned got here straight from Tillerson. On Tuesday, Tillerson took some without warning when he instructed the U.S. can be open to talks with the North “with out preconditions.”

“When do the talks start? We’ve stated, from the diplomatic facet, we’re prepared to speak any time North Korea wish to discuss. And we’re able to have the primary assembly with out preconditions. Let’s simply meet,” Tillerson stated Tuesday at on the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C. 

The secretary of state added, “We will discuss in regards to the climate in order for you. We will discuss whether or not it’ll be a sq. desk or a spherical desk if that’s what you might be enthusiastic about.”

“However can we at the very least sit down and see one another head to head,” Tillerson stated. “After which we will start to put out a map, a highway map of what we is perhaps keen to work in the direction of. I do not suppose, it isn’t lifelike to say we’re solely going to speak when you come to the desk prepared to surrender your program. They’ve an excessive amount of invested in it. And the president could be very lifelike about that as effectively. So it’s actually about how do you start the method of engagement.”

Earlier within the yr on the United Nations, Tillerson had stated North Korea first should take steps to scale back the specter of its nuclear arsenal earlier than talks might be an possibility. 

President Trump has softened his language on North Korea some in latest weeks, a shift from the summer season when he threatened “fireplace and fury” and to “completely destroy” North Korea if vital. 

CBS Information’ Margaret Brennan, Rebecca Shabad and Kathryn Watson contributed to this report. 

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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