WASHINGTON – Days after President Donald Trump shifted rhetoric towards North Korea by urging North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to “make a deal,” State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said Thursday that both Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson believe that “now is not the time for talks.”
The Washington Post published a report Thursday morning alleging that Tillerson and Joseph Yun, the State Department’s top North Korean official, believe that if North Korea can go 60 days without conducting a nuclear or missile test, it would be a signal to the United States that North Korea is ready for dialogue.
“We don’t seek an excuse to bring our people north of the 38th parallel,” Nauert said in response to the report. “The president and the secretary – I think – have been very clear on this matter that now is not the time for talks.”
She did leave the door open for talks in the future, however.
“At some point, if North Korea is showing that it is serious in its interest to denuclearize, perhaps we could look at doing that. But they’re still not showing any sign of seriousness on that matter.”
When asked if the State Department found the fact that North Korea has not conducted any nuclear or ballistic missile tests for 56 days to be a sign of restraint or an opening for dialogue, Nauert quickly shot down the idea that it would be an opportunity to get closer to more discourse between the two countries.
“When my son Peter doesn’t hit my son Gage, I don’t praise him for exercising restraint and not hitting his brother.”
Trump’s softer language towards North Korea at a news conference with South Korean President Moo Jae-in on Tuesday is in stark contrast to the tone he used just over a month ago regarding North Korea.
“I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man…” Trump tweeted on Oct. 1.