NATIONAL

Trying to engage NK is waste of time: Trump

By Choi He-suk
  • Published : Oct 2, 2017 - 16:23
  • Updated : Oct 2, 2017 - 16:24
US President Donald Trump said Sunday he has discouraged his top diplomat from talking to North Korea over its nuclear weapons program because it is a waste of time.

“I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” Trump wrote on Twitter, using his nickname for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

“Save your energy Rex, we‘ll do what has to be done!”

Trump has threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea in the wake of its nuclear and ballistic missile tests, stoking fears of an armed clash on the Korean Peninsula.
 
(Yonhap)

In an apparent bid to ease the tensions, Tillerson told reporters in Beijing on Saturday that the US maintains channels of communication with Pyongyang.

The comment was quickly followed by a statement from the US State Department that North Korea has yet to show an interest in discussing its denuclearization.

South Korea’s presidential office corroborated the statement. On Sunday, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Park Soo-hyun revealed that Seoul and Washington have been cooperating on keeping channels of communication with the North open, but that Pyongyang has not responded.

Although Pyongyang has reportedly attempted to engage US analysts to gain insight into Trump’s stance, the reclusive regime has shown no signs that it is willing to engage in talks.

Rather than back down in the face of growing international pressure, Pyongyang has used sanctions and show of force maneuvers from Seoul and its allies as justification for continuing its nuclear program.

“Being nice to Rocket Man hasn’t worked in 25 years, why would it work now?” Trump added in a tweet sent later in the day.

“Clinton failed, Bush failed, and Obama failed. I won‘t fail.”

Many experts say North Korea could stage another provocation this month to coincide with key anniversaries, including the founding anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea on Oct. 10.

The regime conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3 after launching two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July.

“DPRK will not obtain a nuclear capability. Whether through diplomacy or force is up to the regime,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Twitter, using the acronym of North Korea‘s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“Diplomatic channels are open for Kim Jong-un for now. They won‘t be open forever.”

As tension on the Korean Peninsula continues to mount, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan is reportedly set to visit Seoul in the coming weeks to discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

According to local news reports, Sullivan’s trip is planned for mid-October, and he will meet with Seoul’s Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam.

The meeting will focus on coordinating the allies’ responses, and plans for holding high-level talks on North Korea issues on a regular basis, as agreed by the countries‘ leaders in June. Sullivan is also reported to be planning to meet with President Moon Jae-in’s chief national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong.

By Choi He-suk and news reports (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)

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