U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday avoided a direct answer to whether he supports unconditional dialogue with North Korea.
"Well, we're going to see what happens with North Korea," he told reporters on the White House compound before departing for an official event. "We have a lot of support. There are a lot of nations that agree with us -- almost everybody."
US Presidenet Donald Trump (Yonhap)
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said earlier this week that Washington was ready to begin talks with North Korea "without precondition," indicating a possible shift in U.S. policy.
The White House later snubbed that offer, saying now is not the time for talks. It cited North Korea's Nov. 29 test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, which the regime has claimed is capable of carrying a nuclear weapon to anywhere in the U.S.
"We can't let that happen," Trump said, although it was unclear what he was referring to. "And we're going to see what happens with North Korea. We hope it works out."
He also said North Korea was the main focus of his phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin Thursday.
"We would love to have his help on North Korea. China is helping. Russia is not helping. We'd like to have Russia's help -- very important," he said.
At a U.N. Security Council meeting in New York, Tillerson appeared to walk back on his earlier statement.
"As I said earlier this week, a sustained cessation of North Korea's threatening behavior must occur before talks can begin," he said. "North Korea must earn its way back to the table." (Yonhap)