After Shocking Tillerson Reversal, North Korea Agrees "It Is Important To Avoid War"

Just two weeks after North Korea once again put the world on nuclear war alert by launching its most advanced Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) to date - which experts believe could reach New York or D.C. with a nuclear payload - Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in surprising statements Tuesday indicated that the US would be willing to hold talks with North Korea without any preconditions. 

And it appears the North may have already responded to the overture: according to comments from UN political affairs chief Feltman crossing the Reuters wire on Tuesday evening:

  • N.Korea agrees "it is important to avoid war. "
  • We have left the door open for negotiations. 
  • N.Korea did not offer any type of commitment to talks. 

In remarks given to the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington, Tillerson said, “We’re ready to talk anytime North Korea would like to talk and we’re ready to have the first meeting without preconditions." He stated his belief that it was "unrealistic" for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program before even coming to the table as they already have "too much invested in it." And it appears the statements are representative of a potential new course for the White House, as Tillerson added that President Trump "is very realistic about that as well."

"We are ready to talk anytime North Korea would like to talk. We are ready to have the first meeting without preconditions," Tillerson said. “Let’s just meet. We can talk about the weather if you want. We can talk about whether it’s going to be a square table or a round table if that’s what you’re excited about.” He added further, “And then we can begin to lay out a road map."

Earlier in the day the secretary of state said the administration was pleased with the "progress" so far in ramping up the "extreme" sanctions and diplomatic pressure on the isolated Communist nation, which has involved heightened UN sanctions and greater pressure from China as well. As evidence of the multi-national nature and effectiveness of the sanctions, Tiller said that over 22 countries have recalled their diplomats from Pyongyang, among them even nations like Mexico and Peru. 

He had also earlier referenced pressure through a regimen of US-South Korea military exercises in the region which the North sees as a threat, saying that, an “important part of our diplomatic success is that we have a strong military presence standing behind us so that if North Korea makes bad choices, we’re prepared.”

The timing of Tillerson's potential overture is interesting: not only does it come two weeks after a missile launch that experts confirmed could reach much of the North American continent, but at a time when South Korea is feverishly preparing to host the upcoming Winter Olympic games in February 2018. 

Especially worrisome is that Pyongyang's recent November 28th ICBM launch was reported to have flown for 50 minutes on a very high trajectory reaching 4,500 km above the earth (more than ten times higher than the orbit of Nasa’s International Space Station) before coming down nearly 1,000 km from the launch site off the west coast of Japan. The test prompted the US Ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, to reiterate that Kim Jong Un's provocative actions constitute “the biggest threat to humankind right now.”

Predictably, the US response has been to hold increased military exercises in the region with allies like Japan - as were conducted throughout Tuesday - though other world powers, Russia foremost among them, urged caution and restraint regarding heightened exercises which North Korea sees as saber rattling. However, even South Korea is now requesting that the US dial down its drills, as it worries its northern neighbor could maneuver to stir up trouble preceding or even during the Winter Olympics, set to be hosted in Pyeongchang County from February 9th through Feb 25th, followed by the Paralympic Winter Games. 

The site of the games is a mere 50 miles south of the heavily militarized border, making potential for a major incident as the global spotlight shines on the games an alarming possibility. According to reports, thousands of South Korean military and police personnel are conducting intense security drills preparing for scenarios ranging from bombings, to chemical weapons attacks, to hostage-taking situations. Some 5,000 military personnel are expected to be deployed to the games once they begin as Prime Minuster Lee Nak-yon vowed that the massive security show of force would ensure there are no “security loopholes.”

Meanwhile the South Korean government is reportedly urging the US to hold off on further regional military exercises and shows of force until after the games.

Furthermore, as we reported last night, the security drills come amid new reports that South Korea is asking the U.S. to put off staging two major military exercises until after the end of the Winter Paralympics in March. Those exercises infuriate the Pyongyang regime, which brands them a “rehearsal for war.”  No word yet whether the Pentagon will agree.

This comes amidst talk of what's being called a "freeze-for-freeze" deal in which the North would agree to halt all missile launches and nuclear tests and in return the US would suspend all military exercises in the area. This is something both Moscow and Beijing are currently pushing hard for, and Tillerson's remarks before the Atlantic Council today could signal that the White House is seriously considering the plan. 

At the very least, Tillerson's statements open up a door at an opportune time in which all major powers invested in the region desire to see tensions relaxed, especially the South. His seemingly easygoing remarks, such as “Let’s just meet, we can talk about the weather if you want... so it is really about how do you begin the process of engagement" - appear to have provided just such an opening.

Comments

wisehiney Tue, 12/12/2017 - 20:24 Permalink

I am really becoming sick of this. “We're going to win so much. You're going to get tired of winning. you’re going to say, ‘Please Mr. President, I have a headache. Please, don't win so much. This is getting terrible.’ And I'm going to say, ‘No, we have to make America great again.’ You're gonna say, ‘Please.’ I said, ‘Nope, nope. We're gonna keep winning.’

greenskeeper carl ParticularlySt… Tue, 12/12/2017 - 20:36 Permalink

Best news I've heard out of an American diplomat in a long time, if not ever. Much better than the usual bluster. THIS is one of the reasons I voted for trump. Tell that little fucker we don't give a shit what they do, as long as they do it over there and don't bother us with it. Maybe, jsut maybe, we can start closng some of those bases in SK, too. How much money do all theose bases and the associated war games cost us each year? Good for tillerson.

In reply to by ParticularlySt…

NoDebt greenskeeper carl Tue, 12/12/2017 - 20:53 Permalink

Maybe.  Maybe not.  Could be the last diplomatic play before justifying attack.  Appear to extend the olive branch, behind the scenes give them a reason to smack it away, war is thus justified.Foreign policy is always a chess match.  Nothing is quite as it seems on the surface (as we are seeing it from the outside).  Lots of ways to intentionally derails stuff while appearing the opposite way on its face.Hell, we could hold talks half of forever and just wait for sanctions to starve the country and precipitate a military coup from within.  (Not my argument, but it's been made by some.)Whatever is going on it is NOT what this appears to be on the surface. 

In reply to by greenskeeper carl

not a yahoo NoDebt Wed, 12/13/2017 - 00:52 Permalink

I imagine we detected that nk is about to test their missile mounted nuke above ground. Clearly that would be the final step, once they have proven nukes (no reentry needed, thank you very much), for a deterrent, and game over for US threats. One can surmise that they have already produced more of whatever they are going to test, so destroying production capacity would not work. I think this is one hail mary offer to the north to please refrain from that next step, because the military already has orders to prevent the test from being executed. Anyhow thats my guess.

In reply to by NoDebt

Gonzogal NoDebt Wed, 12/13/2017 - 13:28 Permalink

VERY TRUE. The US has tried to rally the UN for war against NK.  BUT according to International Law, that CANNOT be done without FIRST exhausting ALL Diplomatic efforts.  So, as you say "Appear to extend the olive branch, behind the scenes give them a reason to smack it away, war is thus justified."NO ONE, trusts the US and with good reason.

In reply to by NoDebt

ebworthen Tue, 12/12/2017 - 20:26 Permalink

Good-cop, Bad-cop routine.  North Korea's been a perp so long they know the game.They'll keep shooting off missiles with China and Iran's help until their toys are broken and Kim killed.

CHoward Tue, 12/12/2017 - 20:28 Permalink

"shape of the table". Seems I remember something errily similar quite a few years back.  Viet Nam comes to mind.  After countless months, countless wasted money and time and even more importantly, countless human lives - both American and Vietnamese were lost - all the while they discussed the shape of the table.  In the end - the United States had to drag it's ass out of South VietNam using a wheel barrow.  Once of the sorriest times in American history.

LetThemEatRand Tue, 12/12/2017 - 20:29 Permalink

In other news, Ambassador Rodman promised to get two new piercings if the US agrees to a square table, and four MIC approved table manufacturers agreed to supply the table for prices ranging between $7B and $10B.  

Yen Cross Tue, 12/12/2017 - 20:31 Permalink

 Tillerson and Sessions are total fucking morons! I see why Trump wanted some legacy turds while he drains the swamp, but these guys "sell by" date has expired.

SheHunter Tue, 12/12/2017 - 20:32 Permalink

Chillllllll.  weather talk would be good.  Over a few good brews.  I know there are far too many humans on this planet but if NK and our USA can see eye to eye on a few vitals and avoid killing someone's kids and grandparents?  hey - that is a good thing.

Son of Captain Nemo Tue, 12/12/2017 - 20:52 Permalink

Looks like those Ukrainian rocket engines are THE REAL DEAL!...

And the best part in that "transaction"?... Wouldn't have happened if this horned Zionist warted psychopathic cunt (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QxZ8t3V_bk) hadn't fucked with that Nation in the first place for some stolen beach property in Crimea!

If this Detente with the psychopath from Exxon should go "South", I hope those North Korean/Russian/Chinese ballistic missiles find more than the missing 44,000 U.S. Troops!...

FUCK THE U.S.A.!!!

MEFOBILLS Tue, 12/12/2017 - 20:37 Permalink

Good Cop, Bad Cop.... part of the deal.Trump bad cop, Tillerson good cop.That craaazzy Trump might do anything.  Nixon convinced North Vietnamese he was crazy, and North came to negotiating table. 

SheHunter HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Tue, 12/12/2017 - 21:45 Permalink

Smaller countries with no big stick get invaded by the big dogs.  They get their elected leaders murdered with czars then placed into power that benefit the big dog.  back down.  read some history.  we are known for invading, murdering elected leaders, replacing those leaders with our puppets, and then killing our puppets when they are no longer useful.

In reply to by HRH of Aquitaine 2.0