Published: Sat, March 18, 2017
Culture | By Julio Duncan

Tillerson seeks new North Korea plan on Seoul visit

Tillerson seeks new North Korea plan on Seoul visit

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday that taking military action against North Korea was "an option on the table", in perhaps the clearest indication yet that the new White House has lost patience with diplomacy and is prepared to aggressively confront North Korea's nuclear threat.

The leaving the door open to military action as technological advances in the North Korea's nuclear and missile programs have raised the stakes.

Tillerson has, meanwhile, also refused to rule out the nuclearization of U.S. allies in Asia in order to address the nuclear threat posed by North Korea.

North Korea conducted two nuclear test explosions and 24 ballistic missile tests previous year, according to the Associated Press.

Beijing was Tillerson's final stop on his first official trip to Asia after visiting Japan and South Korea.

North Korea says it needs to be able to defend itself, and conducted its first underground atomic test in 2006 despite global opposition.

"Strategic patience" was an Obama-era policy which involved waiting for North Korea to eventually collapse, thus creating an opportunity for de-nuclearization on the peninsula.

Some experts threw cold water on the notion that Tillerson actually meant the United States would take military action. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visited last month, and Vice President Mike Pence is due to visit in April, underscoring US concerns surrounding North Korea's missile and nuclear programs. But he offered no details about what would comprise the "different approach" to North Korea the USA will pursue.

"We are going to keep long as we admit that South Korea is not the 51st state of the United States".

On his visit Friday, Tillerson visited the demilitarized zone, created after the cold war ended in 1953, and met some of the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea. "He is also expected to plan for a visit by President Xi Jinping to meet with President Trump at his private club in Mar-a-Lago, Fla., next month, although that hasn't been formally announced yet".

State Department officials have described Tillerson's effort this week as a "listening tour" as the administration seeks a coherent North Korea policy, well-coordinated with its Asian partners.

For more than 20 years the United States has pursued the same policy for dealing with North Korea's nuclear threat, each time expecting different results, as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accurately pointed out Thursday in Japan.

While President Donald Trump during his campaign pledged to slap 45 percent tariffs on imports from China and label the country a currency manipulator, there has been little sign of his doing either. "All of the options are on the table", he said.

Yi gave warning last week that North Korea and the US-South Korea duo were like "two accelerating trains" headed at each other, with neither side willing to give way.

Tillerson urged China and other countries to fully implement the sanctions.

China's hardline policy of treating North Korean defectors as illegal aliens and sending them back had eased considerably since 2014, when Seoul-Beijing relations were at their peak.

Washington insists THAAD is a defensive system deployed to protect the South and US bases, but China fears its advanced radar system undermines China's nuclear deterrent.

Critics may say that people said the same thing about Iran, but the situation is different for two key reasons. "I don't expect Tillerson's visit to make any breakthroughs".

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