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Tillerson sees possible pathway to US-North Korea dialog 'in near future'


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- Carrie Healey | AOL.com
WASHINGTON, Aug 22 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared to make a peace overture to North Korea on Tuesday, welcoming what he called the restraint it had shown recently in its weapons programs and saying a path could be opening for dialog "sometime in the near future."

"We have had no missile launches or provocative acts on the part of North Korea since the unanimous adoption of the U.N. Security Council resolution," Tillerson told reporters, referring to U.N. sanctions on North Korea agreed on Aug. 5.

"We hope that this is the beginning of this signal that we've been looking for - that they are ready to restrain their level of tensions, they're ready to restrain their provocative acts, and that perhaps we are seeing our pathway to sometime in the near future having some dialog," Tillerson added.

RELATED: Close look at North Korea's missiles

Tillerson said he was "pleased" to see Pyongyang had "demonstrated some level of restraint that we've not seen in the past."

"We need to see more on their part, but I want to acknowledge the steps they've taken thus far."

North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests and dozens of missile tests since the beginning of last year.

Its last missile test was of a second intercontinental ballistic missile on July 29. This put the U.S. mainland in range, prompting heated exchanges of threats and rhetoric that raised fears of a new conflict on the Korean peninsula.

U.S. President Donald Trump warned North Korea this month it would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States. Pyongyang responded by threatening to fire missiles toward the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam but later said it was holding off while it waited to see what the United States would do next.

RELATED: Anti-terror drills in South Korea

Tillerson remarks came just after the United States announced new North Korea-related sanctions on Tuesday, targeting Chinese and Russian firms and individuals for supporting Pyongyang's weapons programs.

China and Russia backed the U.N. sanctions but have urged the United States to enter dialog with North Korea in return for a freeze in weapons testing.

Washington has long argued that any future talks with North Korea must have the aim of it giving up its nuclear weapons, something North Korea has rejected as long as the United States maintains a "hostile policy" towards it.

North Korea's envoy to a disarmament conference in Geneva reiterated this stance earlier on Tuesday. (Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati and David Brunnstrom; Writing by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Leslie Adler and Cynthia Osterman)

North Korea's Missiles

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  • NORTHKOREA-MISSILES/
    The scene of the intermediate-range ballistic missile Pukguksong-2's launch test in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) May 22, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT.
  • NORTHKOREA-MISSILES/USA
    The long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) is launched during a test in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT.
  • NORTHKOREA-USA/
    Missiles are driven past the stand with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other high ranking officials during a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of North Korea's founding father, Kim Il Sung, in Pyongyang, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Sue-Lin Wong
  • NORTHKOREA-MISSILES/USA
    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
  • NORTHKOREA-USA/
    People cheer as a missile is driven past the stand with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other high ranking officials during a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of country's founding father Kim Il Sung, in Pyongyang April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
  • NORTHKOREA-USA/
    Military vehicles carry missiles with characters reading 'Pukkuksong' during a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of country's founding father, Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
  • NORTHKOREA-MISSILES/
    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised a ballistic rocket launching drill of Hwasong artillery units of the Strategic Force of the KPA on the spot in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang March 7, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERSATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
  • KOREA-NORTH/
    A fire drill of ballistic rockets by Hwasong artillery units of the KPA Strategic Force is pictured in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang September 6, 2016. KCNA/via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
  • NORTHKOREA-MISSILE/
    FILE PHOTO - An underwater test-firing of a strategic submarine ballistic missile is seen in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on April 24, 2016. KCNA/File Photo via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. SOUTH KOREA OUT.
  • NORTH-KOREA/
    A view of a firing contest among multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) batteries selected from large combined units of the KPA, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on December 21, 2016. KCNA/via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
  • NORTHKOREA-MISSILES/
    Ballistic rocket is seen launching during a drill by the Hwasong artillery units of the KPA Strategic Force in this undated picture provided by KCNA in Pyongyang on July 21, 2016. KCNA/via ReutersATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS.Ã TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
  • NORTHKOREA-MISSILE/KIM
    A test launch of ground-to-ground medium long-range ballistic rocket Hwasong-10 in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on June 23, 2016. REUTERS/KCNA ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
  • NORTHKOREA-NUCLEAR/KIM
    A new multiple launch rocket system is test fired in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang March 4, 2016. REUTERS/KCNA ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA
  • NORTHKOREA-NUCLEAR/
    A rocket is launched during a demonstration of a new large-caliber multiple rocket launching system attended by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (not pictured) at an unknown location, in this undated file photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on March 22, 2016. REUTERS/KCNA/Files ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
  • NORTHKOREA-POLITICS/
    A rocket is fired during a drill by anti-aircraft units of the Korean People's Army (KPA) in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang November 3, 2015. REUTERS/KCNA ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.

Anti-terror drills in South Korea

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  • Anti-Terror Drill At A Subway Station On The Sidelines of Ulchi Freedom Guardian Millitary Exercises
    A soldier stands guard during an anti-terror drill on the sidelines of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military exercises at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. North Korea warned the U.S. on Tuesday it will face 'merciless revenge' for ignoring Pyongyangs warnings over annual military drills with South Korea. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • Anti-Terror Drill At A Subway Station On The Sidelines of Ulchi Freedom Guardian Millitary Exercises
    Soldiers participate in an anti-terror drill on the sidelines of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military exercises at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. North Korea warned the U.S. on Tuesday it will face 'merciless revenge' for ignoring Pyongyangs warnings over annual military drills with South Korea. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • Anti-Terror Drill At A Subway Station On The Sidelines of Ulchi Freedom Guardian Millitary Exercises
    Police officers wearing gas masks participate in an anti-terror drill on the sidelines of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military exercises at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. North Korea warned the U.S. on Tuesday it will face 'merciless revenge' for ignoring Pyongyangs warnings over annual military drills with South Korea. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • Anti-Terror Drill At A Subway Station On The Sidelines of Ulchi Freedom Guardian Millitary Exercises
    A passenger takes a photograph of police officers wearing gas masks during an anti-terror drill on the sidelines of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military exercises at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. North Korea warned the U.S. on Tuesday it will face 'merciless revenge' for ignoring Pyongyangs warnings over annual military drills with South Korea. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • Anti-Terror Drill At A Subway Station On The Sidelines of Ulchi Freedom Guardian Millitary Exercises
    A soldier stands guard during an anti-terror drill on the sidelines of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military exercises at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. North Korea warned the U.S. on Tuesday it will face 'merciless revenge' for ignoring Pyongyangs warnings over annual military drills with South Korea. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • Anti-Terror Drill At A Subway Station On The Sidelines of Ulchi Freedom Guardian Millitary Exercises
    Police officers wearing gas masks take part in an anti-terror drill on the sidelines of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military exercises at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. North Korea warned the U.S. on Tuesday it will face 'merciless revenge' for ignoring Pyongyangs warnings over annual military drills with South Korea. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • NORTHKOREA-MISSILES/CIVILDEFENCE
    A South Korean policeman takes part in an anti-terror drill as part of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise in Seoul, South Korea August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
  • NORTHKOREA-MISSILES/CIVILDEFENCE
    Members of Special Weapon and Tactics (SWAT) take part in an anti-terror drill as a part of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise in Seoul, South Korea, August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

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