Tillerson says NKorea must halt launches to talk

13 August, 2017, 00:30 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Tillerson says NKorea must halt launches to talk

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said Washington wants eventually to talk to North Korea, but thinks discussions would not be productive if Pyongyang comes with the intention of maintaining its nuclear weapons.

"The best signal that North Korea can give us that they are prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches".

But Tillerson appeared more conciliatory on Monday.

U.S. president Donald Trump's national security adviser HR McMaster has stressed that it is "impossible to overstate the danger" posed by North Korea. "Not this kind of episodic back and forth that we've seen".

"We talked about it in the discussion we had with Minister Lavrov yesterday - and trying to help them understand just how serious this incident had been and how seriously it had damaged the relationship between the USA and the American people and the Russian people, that this had created serious mistrust between our two countries and that we simply have to find some way to deal with that", Tillerson said. He's not specifying what those are.

Kim Jung Un's missile tests continue to inch too close for comfort for the country's neighbors and the USA; the most recent reached just 200 miles off the shore of Japan.

He will also for the first time be in the same room as North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Hong-Yo, who defied USA attempts to isolate Pyongyang to attend the ASEAN regional forum. "But in order to protect the global non-proliferation system and regional peace and stability, China will, as before, fully and strictly properly implement the entire contents of the relevant resolution".

The forceful comments, made in a statement released via the country's permanent mission to the United Nations Monday, condemned the sanctions in the "strongest terms" declaring the resolution a "wanton infringement upon the sovereignty of the country".

Tillerson has no plans to sit down with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho at the event.

Representing the United States at the dinner was Susan Thornton - acting assistant secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs.

But the Trump administration has said it is open to negotiations once North Korea halts its illegal ballistic missile and nuclear programs.

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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged "the North Korean side to calmly handle the resolutions".

Mr Trump later took to social media to hail the vote, thanking Russian Federation and China in a Twitter post for backing the sanctions that either could have halted with their UN veto, adding that he was "very happy and impressed with 15-0 United Nations vote on North Korea sanctions". She hailed the resolution as the "single largest economic sanctions package ever leveled against the North Korean regime".

Pyongyang's top envoy has so far avoided the media in Manila. "In the early stage, they can take actions from what they agree with, and later they can move to negotiate on their differences step by step".

The statements from Pyongyang come after its first direct statement on Monday regarding the United Nations sanctions package, criticising those measures and threatening to retaliate against the US.

"Now the USA mainland is on the crossroads of life and death", the commentary warned.

While Washington's next steps are not clear, it looks increasingly likely that the two decades long USA policy of "strategic patience" towards Pyongyang may now be over. China, which is a permanent member of the UNSC with a veto power, opted to vote for the sanctions.

There was no direct reaction from North Korea to Tillerson's remarks but in a statement after the US secretary of state made his comments, Pyongyang responded robustly to the new sanctions by saying it was ready to teach the United States a "severe lesson" if it attacked.

China urged North Korea to stop conducting missile and nuclear tests because it provokes the "international community's goodwill".

A global pressure campaign on North Korea propelled by sharp new United Nations sanctions received a welcome boost Sunday from China, the North's economic lifeline, as Beijing called on its neighbor to halt its missile and nuclear tests.

"Since a year ago, when it forcibly implemented two nuclear tests and more than 20 ballistic missile launches, the security threats have entered a new stage", the Japanese Defence Ministry said in the 563-page document released on Tuesday.

At the same time, China urged the US not to increase tensions, saying it had reached a critical point. It is being cheered on by President Donald Trump.

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