"We are open to the possibility of dialogue with North Korea, with the aim of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula".
"For North Korea that means a halt to all nuclear and ballistic missile tests, and for the United States, refraining from military maneuvers and overflights that appear to be practice runs for an attack on the North", Kimball said.
In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China took note of Tillerson's remarks and expressed hope that the United States and North Korea take "meaningful steps towards dialogue and contact".
Tillerson's specific reference to "no preconditions" has raised questions as to whether a rift exists within the Trump administration over possible negotiations with Pyongyang.
"We're ready to talk anytime North Korea would like to talk, and we're ready to have the first meeting without precondition", Tillerson said.
Tillerson himself only called for a break from North Korean provocations, saying, "It's going to be tough to talk if in the middle of our talks you decide to test another device..." "Let's just meet, and we can talk about the weather if you want".
"The idea that Secretary Tillerson is going to discuss military matters is simply nonsensical, it is the job of Secretary Mattis, the secretary of defence, to talk about military matters", Mr Gorka told the BBC.
The remarks are some of the most concrete issued by Tillerson on what talks with North Korea might look like.
"It's not realistic to say we are only going to talk if you come to the table ready to give up your program", Tillerson said.
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"But when we sit at the table, please don't launch missiles, don't have nuclear tests and maybe we can see what you want, you can put your requirements on the table and then you could listen to us", he added.
According to the US Secretary of State, relations with Pakistan which he termed an important and valued partner had drifted and had to be brought back to one of common interest. Tillerson said his boss, President Donald Trump, endorses this position. Earlier this year, Trump tweeted that Tillerson was "wasting his time" negotiating with North Korea.
But the White House later in the day clarified that Trump has not changed his position on North Korea, although they did not oppose Tillerson's efforts to initiate U.S.
North Korea test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile on November 29, breaking a 75-day pause in weapons testing from the regime.
"North Korea is our neighbor", he said. "Our policy remains exactly the same as it was", the department's spokeswoman Heather Nauert said during a regular press briefing.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un vowed to "win victory in the showdown" against the U.S. with his rapidly advancing nuclear arsenal, state media said Wednesday, after the country's latest missile test heightened global tensions.
"Does Tillerson speak for the administration?"
Even as Tillerson stressed the importance of a negotiated end to the standoff, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un vowed to make his nation "the strongest nuclear power and military power in the world". "This administration will not repeat the failed policies of the past".