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USA can talk to North Korea if it halts tests: Tillerson

USA can talk to North Korea if it halts tests: Tillerson

Two Southeast Asian diplomats say disagreements over North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile tests and territorial disputes in the South China Sea have prevented the region's top diplomats from promptly issuing their joint communique after an annual summit in Manila over the weekend.

"The leaders committed to fully implement all relevant resolutions and to urge the global community to do so as well", the White House said.

"We hope again that this ultimately will result in North Korea coming to a conclusion to choose a different pathway, and when the conditions are right that we can sit and have a dialogue around the future of North Korea so that they feel secure and prosper economically", Tillerson said at a news conference in the Philippines capital, where he was attending a regional security meeting.

China's foreign minister said on Sunday it would be not be easy to restart six-party talks about North Korea's nuclear programme and missile tests, but dialogue was necessary and all sides should work towards that goal.

Susan Thornton, acting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said China's support showed it recognized the gravity of the situation, but it was incumbent on Beijing ensuring that sanctions were implemented. Moon's office said that he and Trump had agreed to apply "the maximum pressure and sanction".

The new ban would target about US$1 billion worth of North Korean exports, according to one of the United Nations diplomats, who asked not to be identified as discussing confidential negotiations.

The resolution imposed a full ban on exports of coal, iron and iron ore, lead and lead ore as well as fish and seafood by the cash-starved state - stripping North Korea of a third of its export earnings estimated at $3 billion per year.

Tillerson says the USA has "other means of communication" open to North Korea if the country wants to express to the US a desire to talk.

China is the North's economic lifeline.

China on Saturday called for a halt to the deployment of the THAAD U.S. anti-missile defense system in South Korea and for relevant equipment to be dismantled, China's U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi told the U.N. Security Council.

John Delury, a China and North Korea expert at Yonsei University in Seoul, noted that the Chinese population that lives along the 800-mile (1,300-km) border with North Korea is already struggling financially.

-South Korean military drills, Wang said.

But Tillerson says it's not as simple as North Korea stopping launches for a few days or weeks.

The other mounting concern: that by the time the sanctions really start cutting into the North's economy, potentially changing the government's thinking about the wisdom of pursuing nuclear weapons, it may be too late.

But the USA has long said it would agree to talk only if North Korea agrees to denuclearization - something many analysts believe is unlikely with North Korea's weapons program having progressed as far as it has.

Tillerson conceded there would likely be a lag period before the sanctions "actually have a practical bite on their revenues".


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