U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Saturday said Washington is in direct contact with North Korea over the country’s recent missile tests, the first time the Trump administration has acknowledged it is engaged in backchannel communications with Pyongyang. “We are probing, so stay tuned,” Tillerson said after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Bejing. “We ask, ‘Would you like to talk?’ We have lines of communications to Pyongyang — we’re not in a dark situation, a blackout. We have a couple, three channels open to Pyongyang,” he said. He did not elaborate on how North Korea has responded to U.S. overtures but said, “We can talk to them. We do talk to them.” “The whole situation is a bit overheated right now,” he said, referring to threats being exchanged between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. “If North Korea would stop firing its missiles, that would calm things down a lot,” he said.
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