Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is on a tour of Asia that has taken him to Japan, South Korea, and China. Tillerson said all measures are being explored, diplomatic and economic as well.
Updated | A policy of strategic patience with North Korea has ended, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in South Korea on Friday, adding that a “comprehensive set of capabilities” was being developed to deal with the isolated country.
Tillerson also said that the policy of “strategic patience” has come to an end and that the USA is now exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures, BBC reports.
North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests and a series of missile launches since the beginning of past year.
Tillerson also visited Camp Bonifas, a U.S. base about 400 metres from the heavily fortified DMZ, meeting some of the 28,500 United States troops stationed in South Korea. On Saturday, however, Tillerson warned, no option, including military action, was off the table.
In his first first face-to-face talks with Chinese leaders, TIllerson pledged to work together in addressing the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear programme and cautioned that regional tensions had reached a “dangerous level”.
Speaking in Beijing, Tillerson also indicated that the USA will work with China to change the situation on the Korean peninsula, possibly suggesting that the US will pressure China to rein in North Korea.
But behind the scenes, diplomats and analysts said there was little doubt that Tillerson had pressed China to enforce sanctions against North Korea.
Tillerson said that the USA has provided $1.3 billion in resistance to the authoritarian regime since 1995, but “in return North Korea has detonated nuclear weapons and dramatically increased its launches of ballistic missiles to threaten Americana and our allies”. But Chinese official repeatedly say they do not have the influence over North Korea that Washington and others believe. The situation has emerged as a major, early foreign-policy test for the new Trump administration.
But South Korean human rights groups say China has turned hardline again since Seoul agreed late a year ago to let the US station the THAAD battery here. “And I also appreciate your comment that the China-U.S. relationship can only be defined by cooperation and friendship”. The US has sought to pressure China, North Korea’s main trading partner and historic ally, to use its influence to curb its rogue neighbor’s weapons program.
He floated a proposal that North Korea could suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for a halt in joint U.S.
“You said that China-US relations can only be friendly”.
Xi also extended welcome to President Trump for a visit to China.
Chinese authorities have arrested two South Korean Christian pastors, accusing them of helping to smuggle North Korean defectors out of China, the Yonhap news agency said on Wednesday.
After Donald Trump assumed the US presidency, the US-China ties have been under cloud with Trump indicating that he may take a different approach to the issues that China finds vital to its interests.
Last year, the North conducted two nuclear test explosions and 24 ballistic missile tests. But this particular North Korean leader is not much interested in negotiating, although some might say that makes the objective of all the saber rattling unclear. But as the USA explores what Tillerson calls a “new approach” to North Korea, it should leave open the door to negotiations.