Tillerson says North Korea nuclear program is 'imminent' threat, as China urges talks
Tillerson also said that US-China relations appear to be at a historic inflection point that must be carefully managed. Politico, By 3/18/17,
North Korea's nuclear program poses an "imminent" threat that nonetheless requires the United States, China, and other countries to respond with a "staged approach" that includes sanctions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a rare encounter with the media.
Tillerson, speaking to the conservative Independent Journal Review in an interview published Saturday, also said that U.S.-China relations appear to be at a historic inflection point that must be carefully managed.
China's foreign minister, meanwhile, urged the United States to remain "cool-headed" on the issue of North Korea and to consider going ahead with talks with Pyongyang.
The U.S. secretary of state is in the final stages of a trip to Asia, having made stops in Japan and South Korea and, this weekend, in China. A good chunk of his discussions have focused on how to handle the challenge posed by the government in Pyongyang, whose recent ballistic missile tests have alarmed the international community.
Tillerson repeatedly framed the North Korean threat as "imminent," and during his trip he has ruled out negotiations with the country while leaving open the possibility of a pre-emptive military strike to eliminate its nuclear program.
But in his interview with IJR, Tillerson did not promise any imminent public response by the U.S. and others, aside from the ongoing diplomatic flurries. Instead, he said there had to be a "staged approach" to North Korea, one that involves enforcing, and possibly enhancing, international sanctions, while persuading Pyongyang that giving up its nuclear weapons would help it on other levels………
Tillerson also downplayed, but did not entirely rule out, suggestions that Japan and South Korea should develop their own nuclear weapons in a bid to stave off the North Korean threat…….
China's sway over North Korea is perhaps the most urgent issue the two countries must tackle, Tillerson said. The secretary of state indicated that the Trump administration believes China must do more to enforce sanctions on North Korea, which relies on Beijing as an economic lifeline.
It's the same stance taken by the Obama administration, which toward the end of its tenure also was increasingly alarmed by the threat posed by North Korea. President Barack Obama is reported to have told Trump that North Korea is the top national security priority facing his new administration. http://www.politico.eu/article/tillerson-says-north-korea-nuclear-program-is-imminent-threat-as-china-urges-talks/
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