The Latest: Tillerson says US seeks diplomacy with NKorea

January 17, 2018

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, right, greets Secretary of State of the United States, Rex Tillerson during a meeting on North Korea in Vancouver, British Columbia, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. Officials are discussing sanctions, preventing the spread of weapons and diplomatic options. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — The Latest on U.S. allies from the Korean War discussing the nuclear threat from North Korea (all times local):

6:15 p.m.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. seeks a diplomatic resolution in the nuclear standoff with North Korea, but he’s declining to comment on whether the White House is considering limited military action against Pyongyang.

Tillerson was responding to reports that some in the Trump administration advocate military action to give the North a “bloody nose.” He was addressing a news conference in Vancouver Tuesday after a meeting of U.S. allies.

The meeting of 20 nations stressed the need for diplomacy, but Tillerson said the North has yet to show itself to be a “credible negotiating partner.” He said U.S.-North Korea talks would require a “sustained cessation” of threatening behavior by Pyongyang.

Tillerson declined to say whether President Donald Trump has spoken directly to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.


9:40 a.m.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha says its talks with North Korea are a “significant first step toward restoring inter-Korean relations.”

But Kang says that despite the overtures, North Korea has yet to show any intention to fulfill its obligations on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Kang told a meeting of U.S. allies in Vancouver that as long as North Korea continues down its current path, sanctions will remain in place.

North and South Korea recently started talks, the first in two years, and the North agreed to take part in the Winter Olympics hosted by the South.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono voiced skepticism about North Korea’s intentions.

He said the North “wants to buy some time to continue their nuclear and missile programs.”


9:30 a.m.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is calling for nations to improve maritime interdiction of ships conducting illicit trade with North Korea.

Tillerson is meeting in Vancouver with 19 nations that fought on America’s side in the Korean War to intensify the “maximum pressure” campaign on the North and combat sanctions evasion.

He says the gathering of like-minded nations sends Kim Jong Un a unified message: “We will not accept a nuclear-armed North Korea.”

He is especially urging China and Russia, which are not invited to the meeting to fully implement U.N. sanctions.

Tillerson also highlighted in his opening remarks Tuesday North Korean missile tests pose a threat to civilian air traffic.

He says the pressure campaign will continue until North Korea takes decisive steps to give up its nukes.


12 a.m.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson huddles Tuesday with nations that fought on America’s side in the Korean War, looking to increase economic pressure on North Korea over its nuclear weapons even as hopes rise for diplomacy.

The 20-nation gathering in Vancouver comes days after a mistaken missile alert caused panic on Hawaii, a stark reminder of the fears of conflict with the North.

The meeting is hosted by Tillerson and his Canadian counterpart, Chrystia Freeland.

It was called before the recent start of talks between North and South Korea, the first in two years. President Donald Trump has also signaled openness to talks under the right circumstances.

Officials will discuss sanctions, preventing the spread of weapons by North Korea, and diplomatic options.

Update hourly