Diplomatic talks to ease tensions between North Korea and the United States are reportedly on its “last legs,” according to a U.S. diplomat.
Citing unnamed U.S. government officials, NBC News reported Wednesday, the breakdown in talks between the two countries have caused some concern on Capitol Hill.
According to NBC, Joseph Yun, a top American diplomat to North Korea, has expressed frustration over the inability to communicate the urgency of the situation to the White House ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s trip to Asia in November, saying talks are on their “last legs.”
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A second U.S. official told NBC News, the message coming from Washington could be part of the diplomatic breakdown.
“It is not so much that North Korea is shutting down, it’s that the message from the U.S. government is, ‘Surrender without a fight or surrender with a fight,’” NBC quoted the unnamed official as saying.
Sen. Chris Murphy told MSNBC that it’s “not surprising” that talks are on “life support.”
“It’s not surprising that negotiations are on life support right now. President Trump is deploying what is perhaps the worst negotiating strategy in the history of the American presidency,” Murphy said. “It’s not just he’s out there calling this guy [Kim Jong Un] names, it’s that he is publically undercutting his Department of State by tweeting out that Rex Tillerson does not have his support and cannot talk and negotiate on his behalf.”
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Earlier this month, Trump said his Secretary of State was “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with 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.
“Being nice to Rocket Man hasn’t worked in 25 years, why would it work now? Clinton failed, Bush failed, and Obama failed. I won’t fail.”
Trump referred to Kim as “Rocket Man” during his address to the UN General Assembly in September.
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Trump made the comments while Tillerson was in China and said the U.S. was indirectly communicating with North Korea. He later downplayed Trump’s remarks, telling CNN the president had instructed him to continue diplomatic efforts with North Korea, saying, “Those diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops.”
NBC’s report comes just days after Japan told the U.S. that the threat from North Korea is at a “critical and imminent level.”
Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told his U.S. and South Korean counterparts on Monday that the “threat posed by North Korea has grown to the unprecedented, critical and imminent level.”
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Therefore, we have to take calibrated and different responses to meet with that level of threat,” Onodera said.
Trump is expected to visit China, South Korea and Japan during his 12-day Asia trip.
— with a file from Reuters
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