>> A White House official is knocking down suggestions from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that talks with North Korea could begin at any time without preconditions. The official told Reuters no negotiations can be held with Pyongyang until it improves its behavior. On Tuesday, Tillerson appeared to back away from the Trump administration’s official line that Pyongyang would need to agree to negotiations would be about giving up its nuclear arsenal.
>> And we're ready to have the first meeting without precondition.>> David Brunnstrom is on the story.>> Secretary Tillerson's remarks yesterday created a certain amount of excitement especially amongst those who take the view that the United States should be making more effort to enter into some sort of talks with North Korea.
The White House and in fact the State Department have been at pains to walk back his remarks and stress that he was not in fact unveiling any sort of new policy.>> The White House has declined to say whether President Donald Trump gave his approval for Tillerson's overture.
>> White House officials and State Department officials are saying as they have in the past that the United States is open to talks, but only when the time is right. They say that the time is not right now, just after yet another missile test by North Korea.>> The apparent disconnect between Trump and Tillerson on North Korea recalls several times in recent months when the two have seemed out of step.
Senior officials said last month, Trump was considering ousting the former Exxon CEO. Tillerson on Tuesday told state employees he's in no hurry to leave.>> Response