BEIJING: United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that America has direct lines of communication to North Korea, and that his immediate goal is to "calm things down in the international standoff" over the country's nuclear weapons programme.
"We are probing, so stay tuned. We ask, 'Would you like to talk?' We have lines of communications to Pyongyang. We're not in a dark situation or a blackout. We have a couple of direct channels to Pyongyang. We can talk to them. We do talk to them. Directly, through our own channels," the CNN quoted Tillerson, as responding to a question at a news conference in Beijing about whether the "North Koreans actually want to talk before completing their weapons development programme."
Tillerson also said the administration's goal with respect to North Korea is peace and stability.
"We've made it clear that we hope to resolve this through talks, The principal objective is a peaceful resolution," he said.
"I think the most immediate action that we need is to calm things down. They're a little overheated right now, and I think we need to calm them down first," Tillerson added.
Tillerson defended President Donald Trump's fiery rhetoric about Pyongyang and said, "I think the whole situation is a bit overheated right now. I think everyone would like for it to calm down."
"Obviously, it would help if North Korea would stop firing off missiles. That would calm things down a lot," he added.
Tillerson is in Beijing, where he would meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss North Korea and other issues. The visit shall lay the groundwork for Trump's planned visit to China in early November.