Trump to top US diplomat: Don't bother talking to North Korea
WASHINGTON – Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump on Oct. 1 dismissed the prospect of talks with North Korea as a waste of time a day after his own secretary of state said the United States was maintaining open lines of communication with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
"I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful secretary of state, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man," Trump wrote on Twitter, using his sarcastic nickname for Kim and seeming to contradict the top U.S. diplomat.
Trump, who has traded insults and threats with Kim in recent weeks amid escalating tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs, later tweeted that his White House predecessors, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, had all "failed" on North Korea by "Being nice to Rocket Man."
"So why would it work now?" he asked.
Kim succeeded his father, Kim Jong Il, as North Korean leader in 2011, during Obama's administration. Previous presidents negotiated with Pyongyang but ultimately failed to prevent it from pressing ahead with its internationally condemned weapons programs.
Tillerson disclosed on Sept. 30 that the United States was directly communicating with North Korea on its nuclear and missile programs but that Pyongyang had shown no interest in dialogue.
"Save your energy Rex, we'll do what has to be done!" Trump said.
Tillerson said during a trip to China that the United States had multiple direct channels of communication with Pyongyang, the first such disclosure by the Trump administration, and that it was probing North Korea to see if it was interested in dialogue.
In Beijing on Oct. 1, China's foreign ministry said it supported dialogue.
"We consistently support the United States and North Korea engaging in dialogue and contact to promote mutual understanding and resolve related issues through consultations," it said in an emailed response to a Reuters query on Tillerson's revelations about contact with North Korea.