Tillerson says US is ready for talks with North Korea
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States is prepared to negotiate with North Korea without preconditions.
The statement from America's top diplomatic official underscores the urgency of efforts to blunt the threat of an increasingly belligerent North Korea as it flexes its nuclear muscles.
While US President Donald Trump and his officials have consistently held out the possibility of a military confrontation, Mr Tillerson said last month in response to North Korea's latest test that "diplomatic options remain viable and open, for now," floating the possibility of more financial sanctions.
By contrast, Mr Tillerson's counterpart at the UN, US ambassador Nikki Haley, reacted to the late-November test - in which a missile soared higher than any prior launch - by warning "the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed" if its actions continued to force the world toward war. She had earlier said diplomatic tools were effectively "exhausted".