U.S. diplomacy with North Korea to
continue until 'first bomb drops': Tillerson
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[October 16, 2017]
By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State
Rex Tillerson said Sunday that President Donald Trump had instructed him
to continue diplomatic efforts to calm rising tensions with North Korea,
saying "those diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb
Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," Tillerson downplayed messages
that President Trump had previously posted on Twitter suggesting
Tillerson was wasting his time trying to negotiate with "Little Rocket
Man," a derogatory nickname Trump has coined for North Korea's leader
Kim Jong Un.
Trump "has made it clear to me to continue my diplomatic efforts,"
Tillerson's comments Sunday come amid soaring tensions between the
United States and North Korea following a series of weapons tests by
Pyongyang and a war of words between the two countries' leaders.
North Korea has conducted a series of nuclear tests in recent weeks and
ago and launched two missiles over Japan.
Tillerson has been in talks with China to enlist its help on getting
North Korea to back down.
But Trump's recent Twitter messages appeared to undercut Tillerson's
efforts, prompting the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob
Corker to complain that Trump was publicly castrating Tillerson and
hurting diplomatic talks.
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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pauses in his remarks
welcoming Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General
Luis Almagro (not pictured), prior to a bilateral meeting, at the
State Department, in Washington, U.S., October 13, 2017.
Tillerson downplayed those tweets Sunday, telling CNN that Trump and
China's President Xi Jinping have an extremely close relationship
and that China understands the U.S. position.
"Rest assured that the Chinese are not confused in any way" about
the American policy towards North Korea, he added.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Andrew Hay)
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