Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Saturday the U.S. government has direct lines of communication to North Korea over its continued nuclear and missile tests.
"We are probing, so stay tuned," Tillerson told reporters when asked how he could start a dialogue with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "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."
Tillerson added that the U.S. can talk to North Korea, and said the channels are not running through China, but rather directly to Pyongyang.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert confirmed the U.S. has opened several channels to communicate with Pyongyang, but said the rogue regime isn't willing to engage in talks with the U.S.
"Despite assurances that the United States is not interested in promoting the collapse of the current regime, pursuing regime change, accelerating reunification of the peninsula or mobilizing forces north of the DMZ, North Korean officials have shown no indication that they are interested in or are ready for talks regarding denuclearization," Nauert said in a statement.
The secretary of state was speaking to reporters during a trip to China, where he met with President Xi Jinping. Tillerson said threats between North Korea and the U.S. need to de-escalate.
Following President Trump's maiden speech at the United Nations General Assembly, where he called Kim Jong Un "Rocket Man" and threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea, the country's foreign minister said Trump's comments were a "declaration of war."
"The whole situation is a bit overheated right now," Tillerson said. "If North Korea would stop firing its missiles, that would calm things down a lot."