US President Donald Trump (R) speaks to the press with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) on August 11, 2017, at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ.
Jim Watson —AFP/Getty Images
By Alana Abramson
Updated: October 1, 2017 3:37 PM ET

President Donald Trump criticized Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for his attempts to open a dialogue with North Korea, claiming such efforts are a waste of time.

“I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” Trump wrote on Twitter Sunday, a reference to a past name he has used to describe North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. “Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!”

The tweets come just one day after Tillerson told reporters during a visit to China that the United States has “direct lines of communication” with officials in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital.

“We’re not in a dark situation, a blackout,” Tillerson said, according to the Associated Press. “We have a couple … three channels open to Pyongyang. We can talk to them, we do talk to them.” The AP had reported in August that the Trump administration and North Korea were involved in backchannel diplomacy for several months.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. On Sunday afternoon, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert wrote on Twitter that diplomatic channels for Kim Jong Un are open at the moment, but it is not permanent.


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