Washington (CNN)-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the US is willing to sit down for talks with North Korea, but only if it relinquishes its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Tillerson, speaking at the State Department press briefing, stressed that the US was not seeking regime change or looking to send its military "north of the 38th parallel" that divides North and South Korea. But he emphasized that the danger posed by Pyongyang, which test fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July, was unacceptable.
"We do not seek regime change. We do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula. We do not seek an excuse to send our military north of the 38th parallel," Tillerson said during a surprise visit to the agency's briefing room on Tuesday.
"We are not your enemy, we are not your threat, but you are presenting an unacceptable threat to us and we have to respond," Tillerson said, speaking to North Korea directly. "We would like to sit and have a dialogue about the future."
"Our other options," Tillerson added, "are not attractive."
A willingness to talk if North Korea agrees to pursue denuclearization was also Obama administration policy, though it was never successful in getting Pyongyang to the table, and some analysts have questioned whether assumptions North Korea may be willing to scale down its arsenal are out of date.
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