WASHINGTON, July 7 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday that freezing North Korea's nuclear program is unacceptable because Pyongyang's capabilities have already progressed too much and must be rolled back.
Tillerson made the remark during a briefing on the talks between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, reiterating his rejection of a proposal from China and Russia that the U.S. suspend joint military exercises with South Korea if the North suspends missile testing.
Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward the "freeze for freeze" proposal earlier this week.
"President Putin, I think, has expressed a view not unlike that of China, that they would support a freeze for freeze," Tillerson said. "The problem with freezing now, if we freeze where they are today, we freeze their activities with a very high level of capability. And we do not think it also sets the right tone for where these talks should begin."
The U.S. wants the North to be prepared to come to the negotiating table with a focus on how to "cease and roll back" the nuclear program, Tillerson said.
"We're not interested in talking about, 'How do we have you stop where you are today?' because stopping where they are today is not acceptable to us," he said.
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