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US efforts to ‘denuclearise North Korea’ have failed- US secretary of state Rex Tillerson

Tillerson concedes US efforts to ‘denuclearise North Korea’ have failed
US secretary of state starts four-day Asia-Pacific trip by calling for new approach towards Pyongyang’s weapons programme,
Guardian,  , 16 Mar 17 The US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, has conceded that 20 years of US attempts to “denuclearise” North Korea have failed, and called for a new approach towards the regime’s nuclear weapons programme.

Speaking in Tokyo at the start of a four-day visit to Japan, South Korea and China, Tillerson said on Thursday: “I think it’s important to recognise that the political and diplomatic efforts of the past 20 years to bring North Korea to the point of denuclearisation have failed.

“That includes a period where the United States has provided $1.35bn in assistance to North Korea as an encouragement to take a different pathway.

“In the face of this ever-escalating threat, it is clear that a different approach is required. Part of the purpose of my visit to the region is to exchange views on a new approach.”

Tillerson said he and his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida, had discussed a fresh approach to North Korea’s “dangerous and unlawful” nuclear programme, but neither revealed details.

 “North Korea and its people need not fear the United States or their neighbours in the region who seek only to live in peace with North Korea,” the secretary of state added. “With this in mind, the United States calls on North Korea to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and refrain from any further provocation.”

US administration officials have said that all options are on the table, including military strikes, but Tillerson indicated that Washington would continue to demand the full implementation of UN sanctions and press China to make more effective use of its leverage with the North Korean regime.

Calls for an alternative to the multinational sanctions supported by previous Japanese and US administrations have grown amid worrying evidence that the measures have not prevented North Korea from edging closer to its aim of developing nuclear weapons capable of striking the US mainland.

Japan and South Korea, which host tens of thousands of American troops, are within range of North Korean missiles…….

Chinese cooperation has been further complicated by the forthcoming deployment of a controversial US anti-missile system in South Korea.

China has objected to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (Thaad) missile defence system, describing its advanced radar as a threat to its own security. Military officials in the US and South Korea insist that Thaad’s sole purpose is to thwart missile attacks from North Korea……..

Tillerson said making Japan the first stop on his visit “does underscore the importance that the United States places on the Japanese-US relationship, but also the importance of the Asia-Pacific region to the United States. The US-Japan alliance remains the cornerstone of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Tillerson was due to hold talks with Japan’s prime minister, Shinzō Abe, on Thursday evening. On Friday, he will meet South Korea’s acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, and visit the demilitarised zone – the heavily armed border separating South and North Korea.

In Beijing at the weekend, Tillerson is expected to attempt to calm Chinese fears over Thaad, play down talk of a possible trade war between the world’s two largest economies, and finalise plans for the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, to visit Trump in April. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/mar/16/tillerson-concedes-us-efforts-to-denuclearise-north-korea-have-failed

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March 17, 2017 - Posted by | North Korea, politics international

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