White House responds to Tillerson: Trump’s position on North Korea hasn’t changed
The White House on Tuesday reaffirmed that President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Democrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure MORE's position on North Korea has not changed, despite Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonOvernight Defense: Trump rails against media coverage | Calls reporting on Iran tensions 'highly inaccurate' | GOP senator blocking Trump pick for Turkey ambassador | Defense bill markup next week Trump frustrated with advisers over Iran, wants to speak to leaders in Tehran: report Juan Williams: Trump's scorecard is rife with losses MORE's comments that the U.S. would be open to bilateral talks with the country without preconditions.
"The President's views on North Korea have not changed," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Tuesday evening.
"North Korea is acting in an unsafe way not only toward Japan, China, and South Korea, but the entire world. North Korea's actions are not good for anyone and certainly not good for North Korea," she added.
The White House pushed back after Tillerson's statement earlier in the day that the U.S. diplomatic community was ready to meet face-to-face with North Korean leaders for diplomatic discussions "without precondition."
The remarks appeared to be a break from the administration's position that serious discussions would require that North Korea make an effort to denuclearize.
In his comments at an Atlantic Council event on Tuesday, Tillerson also said that Trump "is very realistic about that as well."
Tillerson said that it was "not realistic" for the U.S. to require North Korea to give up its nuclear program in order for talks to commence. He said the two nations could "at least sit down and see each other face to face and then we can begin to lay out a map, a roadmap of what we might be willing to work towards."
Trump has in the past chided Tillerson for "wasting his time" in pushing for negotiations with North Korea. The president has instead made repeated overtures to Chinese President Xi Jinping to crack down on North Korea's nuclear aggression.