March 12, 2018 / 4:33 PM / 3 months ago

Tillerson says several steps needed for U.S. talks with North Korea

ABUJA (Reuters) - Several steps will be necessary to agree the location and scope of talks between the United States and North Korea, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Monday.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks during a news conference with Chad's Foreign Minister Mahamat Zene Cherif (not pictured) in N'Djamena, Chad, March 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Tillerson has been involved in discussions within the U.S. administration on a possible meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“There will be several steps necessary to agree on location, agree on the scope of those discussions. It’s very early stages. We’ve not heard anything directly back from North Korea but we expect to hear something directly from them,” he said during a visit to Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

He was speaking at the end of a week-long trip to five African countries.

Tillerson did not clarify which steps were needed for the talks and declined to comment on potential locations.

It would be the first face-to-face encounter between any leaders of the two countries and potentially marks a major breakthrough in easing tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.

Tillerson has cut short his first trip to Africa since becoming the top U.S. diplomat in order to return to Washington on Tuesday, a day ahead of schedule, to deal with urgent work.

Reporting by Paul Carsten; Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

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