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North Korea

U.S. in direct contact with North Korea

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson walks by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi before a meeting in Beijing on Sept. 30, 2017. (Andy Wong / Pool photo)
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson walks by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi before a meeting in Beijing on Sept. 30, 2017. (Andy Wong / Pool photo)

The United States is in direct contact with North Korea over its missile and nuclear tests.

“We are probing, so stay tuned,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters traveling with him during a daylong visit to China.

“We ask: Would you like to talk? We have lines of communications to Pyongyang. We’re not in a dark situation,” he added.

Tillerson called for a calming of the situation on the Korean Peninsula, but said it was incumbent on North Korea to halt its missile launches.

Following his meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other officials in Beijing, Tillerson said he thinks China has become deeply concerned about the North’s missile and nuclear programs and is working hard to convince Pyongyang to reenter talks. Tillerson did not say specifically what form those talks should take.

“I think the most immediate action that we need is to calm things down,” Tillerson told reporters. “They’re a little overheated right now. And I think we need to calm them down first.”

Tillerson is in China in part to prepare for President Trump’s trip there in November. The president also will visit Japan and South Korea, the two allies most directly affected by North Korea’s aggressions, as well as Vietnam and the Philippines.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

11:25 a.m. This article was updated with staff reporting.

This article was originally published at 7:37 a.m.

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