Published: Mon, March 20, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

USA policy of 'strategic patience' with North Korea over - Rex Tillerson

USA policy of 'strategic patience' with North Korea over - Rex Tillerson

On Friday, Tillerson issued the Trump administration's starkest warning yet to North Korea, saying in Seoul that a military response would be "on the table" if Pyongyang took action to threaten South Korean and USA forces.

At a joint news conference with South Korea's Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, Tillerson said the U.S.'s "strategic patience" approach was over and that it would not engage in talks with Pyongyang unless the hermit kingdom gives up its nuclear weapons.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Saturday said North Korea's nuclear threats had reached "a unsafe level" and called on China to make urgent efforts to help rein in the reclusive state, while Beijing insisted the crisis should be settled by diplomatic means.

Previous U.S. administrations have held the threat of military action over North Korea in response to nuclear tests or missile launches but Tillerson's remarks go much further.

South Korea's Lotte Group said Sunday 80 percent of its hypermarket chains operating in China have been forced to shut down temporarily, adding to woes that Beijing's reprisal against Seoul over the deployment of an advanced US missile defense system is intensifying.

On Friday, as Tillerson prepared to make his way to Beijing on the third leg of his Asian tour, President Trump took to Twitter to criticize China for not helping rein in North Korea's nuclear program.

"We will work together to see if we can not bring the government in Pyongyang to a place where they want to make a different course, make a course correction, and move away from the development of nuclear weapons".

During his first trip to Asia since being appointed by Donald Trump, Mr Tillerson said the usa policy of strategic patience with Pyongyang had now ended.

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In his meeting with Tillerson today, Xi said the two sides should grasp the general direction for the development of China-US relations in an attitude responsible for history and future generations.

"Efforts toward North Korea to achieve peaceful stability over the last two decades have failed to make us safer", Tillerson said. If that was his meaning, the threat was premature, because the US has other ways to deter North Korea.

Tillerson arrived in China on Saturday, where he said that tensions with North Korean had reached a "dangerous level" and urged China to help pressure Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear ambitions, according to The Washington Post. They have been playing the United States for years.

After Donald Trump assumed the US presidency, the US-China ties have been under cloud with Trump indicating that he may take a different approach to the issues that China finds vital to its interests. In talks with Xi in Beijing, Tillerson said Trump places a "very high value" on communications with the Chinese president.

The Trump administration is crafting a new arms package for the self-ruled island of Taiwan, which China claims as its own. But Chinese official repeatedly say they do not have the influence over North Korea that Washington and others believe.

South Korea was the second of Tillerson's three stops on his trip to Asia, after Japan.

Tokyo is also considering beefing up its ballistic missile defenses with a U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system or Aegis Ashore, a land-based version of the missile defense system used at sea. China realizes that a personal rapport with Trump is important, and watched in consternation as Japan's President Shinzo Abe stole a march on them with an early visit to Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

"We've seen flickers of cooperation between the U.S. and China but no firm agreement on how to deal with North Korea".

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