They are publicly directed at North Korea, but the primary target audience is China and the secondary audience is any other country that may want to stand in the way of sanctions. It seems odd that China is thoroughly mad at South Korea but not directly chastising the United States that is actually installing and operating the THAAD system.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson defended the State Department decision not to bring the American press corps with him on his trip to Asia, saying he wasn’t “a big media press access person”.
On bilateral trade, Mr Tillerson said: “Our two countries should have a positive trading relationship that is fair and pays dividends both ways”. The historic impeachment on corruption charges brought on a power vacuum in Seoul – just as the new USA administration begins to engage with Asia.
The economic dimension of South Korea-China relations is an area that Tillerson will have to be particularly cognisant and supporting of if he is to ensure that the THAAD instalment does go ahead as planned. However, the US posture on the Korean peninsula has not escalated, and North Korea’s erratic decision-making process on missile tests doesn’t track neatly with specific USA or South Korean actions.
“Clearly the level of spending that the State Department has been undertaking, particularly in this past year, is simply not sustainable”, Tillerson said. “You draw them out”.
He added: “I spend my time working on this airplane”. Can one conclude that Tillerson is complicit in this shift of fortunes, or are there underlying problems that matter more than the man at the top?
“It’s important that the leadership of North Korea realize that their current pathway of nuclear weapons and escalating threats will not lead to their objective of security and economic development”, Tillerson said.
The deal eventually broke down and North Korea has built a sizable nuclear stockpile.
“Thus far we have been unable to persuade them either through United Nations action, through sanctions, whatever”.
“I’ll let Secretary Tillerson talk for USA policy”, Davis said.
Tillerson is the latest in a parade of senior US officials to have their photos taken at the border.
But for now, the political prospects of a Japan-South Korea rapprochement appear uncertain, if not outright bleak. “There’s a lot of tensions”.
“He’s going to have an opportunity at every stop to talk about next steps or what we do now, with respect to North Korea”, he said.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S.is considering “all options” to counter North Korea’s nuclear threat while criticizing China over moves to block a missile-defense system on the peninsula.
Tillerson said the USA side adheres to the one-China policy and is willing to explore more cooperation in the spirit of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. And a key player in the region will soon change.