Tillerson, who will address a U.N. Security Council meeting on North Korea on Friday, has carried the torch for engagement, and as fears of confrontation have risen, has progressively eased the threshold under which he says the US could hold direct discussions with the reclusive nation. "The administration is united in insisting that any negotiations with North Korea must wait until the regime fundamentally improves its behaviour".
Tillerson said Tuesday at an Atlantic Council talk that it would be unrealistic to hold North Korea to giving up its nuclear program before being allowed to enter talks with the USA, and that President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for "serious case of amnesia" after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don't want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE is also open to face-to-face dialogue. "A skeptic might say that at least he wants to show the U.S.is trying diplomacy, so as to make any future military action more justifiable", Fitzpatrick said.
Then in September, after Mr Tillerson said he had established direct lines of communication with Pyongyang, the president accused the secretary of "wasting his time".
Speaking at the meeting of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Foreign Ministers in Istanbul, Foreign Minister Khawaja Mohammed Asif said the United States recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital "undermined its role as an honest broker in the Middle East peace process".
When Tillerson voiced willingness to hold talks with the North in October, President Donald Trump tweeted such efforts are a "waste of time".
Media captionHow would war with North Korea unfold? Last week, some 12,000 military personnel and more than 200 warplanes, including B-1B strategic bombers and the latest F-35 stealth fighters took part in major air drills. The New York Times reported that a Chinese county bordering North Korea has begun establishing camps for refugees that could flood into China. "What they've expected from South Korea is that Moon would not further extend the THAAD system, that South Korea would not join in any regional anti-missile defense system, and that there will be no tripartite military alliance between the US, South Korea and Japan", Bennett explained. The top UN human rights official Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein told a UN Security Council on Tuesday that the punitive measures had already compounded the humanitarian crisis in North Korea. He said it's unclear if the North will want to negotiate as it nears deployment of a nuclear missile that could strike America.
He added that China is preparing to deal with a mass exodus of North Korean refugees across the border.
As for Tillerson's offer of talks without preconditions, it will only continue to fuel widespread speculation that Trump will replace him with a hard-line warmonger.
Ryanair Will Recognise Unions In Bid To Avoid Strike
One day of industrial action had been planned for Wednesday December 20 and would have mostly involved captains. A German pilot union was also understood to be preparing to announce a strike by Ryanair pilots next week.