US working on new N.Korea sanctions: Tillerson

Indo Asian News Service

Washington, May 4 (IANS) US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the US was preparing new sanctions against North Korea if Pyongyang takes steps that warrant new sanctions.

The US is "preparing additional sanctions" if it turns out that the North Korea's future actions merit additional sanctions, Tillerson said here in a speech to State Department employees.

Tillerson also said that the US was ready to engage in talks with North Korea "when conditions are right", adding that Washington was sending a "very, very clear and resolute" message that the country's security and economic prosperity "can only be secured" through commitment to denuclearization, Xinhua news agency reported.

Tillerson also reaffirmed that the US was not seeking regime change in North Korea.

Tension has remained very high over the past two months between the US and North Korea over the former's threat to stage military attack upon Pyongyang for its nuclear and missile programs.

The US and South Korea also held their largest ever joint military exercises in the past two months, while the USS Carl Vinson nuclear aircraft carrier task group has arrived in the waters off the peninsula for joint drills with the South Korean military.

Tillerson also said the US-Russian relationship was the lowest since the Cold War, Xinhua news agency reported.

"I characterized to President Putin (of Russia) our relationship was the lowest since the Cold War," said Tillerson. "He did not disagree."

According to Tillerson, Washington and Moscow were working to see if trust could be rebuilt by starting one issue at a time.

"We need to stabilize the relations that are spiralling down," said Tillerson.