Published: Sun, March 19, 2017
Research | By Jo Caldwell

Rex Tillerson, china turn up heat on N. Korea

Rex Tillerson, china turn up heat on N. Korea

Secretary of State Tillerson visited the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea Friday.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the USA will not rule out the possibility of using military force against North Korea if it continues to develop nuclear weapons, telling reporters Friday that "all of the options are on the table".

Tillerson called on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program and said it had no reason to fear the U.S. But he also said all options are on the table, saying that although the U.S. does not want military tensions, it will take action against Pyongyang if necessary.

Though many declarations and sanctions have been made by the United States to condemn North Korea's nuclear program, such as embargos, Kim Jong-un seems to remain focused on his nuclear plans.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is meeting his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing in the final leg of his East Asia tour, which has been dominated by anxieties over North Korea.

Americans woke to scary headlines Friday morning that the Trump administration had just announced a dramatic shift in United States policy toward North Korea, abandoning diplomacy and threatening that preemptive military action against the reclusive and nuclear-armed regime was "an option".

In Tokyo Thursday, Tillerson said efforts over the past 20 years to halt North Korea's nuclear development had failed. "We renewed our determination to work together to convince the North Korean government to choose a better path and different future for its people", Tillerson said.

Tillerson's statement comes the week after the first deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system in South Korea, and just days after South Korea, the United States, and Japan began naval drills off North Korea.

He was flown by helicopter into Camp Bonifas, a US base near the Demilitarized Zone, where he visited with troops and signed the wall of a dining facility in a tradition that dates to some of the first troops stationed there.

For his part, Wang restated Beijing's calls for dialogue between the USA and North Korea.

"China has done little to help", Trump's tweet said.

China's foreign minister, Wang Yi, called for a "coolheaded" approach to the situation and urged the US not to abandon diplomacy. The ties worsened even further after a phone call between Trump and the Taiwanese president in December, raising concerns that the new United States administration may not honor the one-China policy. "He emphasized that the whole world will soon witness what eventful significance the great victory won today carries", official media outlet KCNA said.

We don't fault Tillerson or President Trump for responding to recent North Korean missile tests.

That deal collapsed in 2002, and North Korea achieved its first atomic test in 2006.

He said the $1.35 billion (€1.25 billion) in U.S. aid given to the reclusive Stalinist state over the last two decades was "an encouragement to take a different pathway" but the strategy had failed.

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