Tillerson’s comments appeared to address concerns from China, which has long held that North Korea pursued nuclear weapons out of fear that the us wanted to topple the regime established by Kim Jong Un’s grandfather after the Second World War.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is in South Korea as part of his first diplomatic tour of the region, declared that “the policy of strategic patience has ended” and that the administration is “exploring a new range of diplomatic, security, and economic measures”. So amid the scary stories of North Korean brinkmanship, there is an opportunity for the Trump administration to work with whoever is willing to find a better ending to this chilling prospect.
Tillerson then went to the Joint Security Area, where blue buildings straddle the border and US and South Korean forces face their northern enemies at close quarters.
Tillerson visited Japan on Thursday, meeting his Japanese counterpart and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida. It was appropriate that Tillerson confirmed at a press conference that the US stood behind that agreement.
Regardless, South Korea and Japan do cooperate on many issues. Since the U.S. -South Korean agreement was announced in July, both the Chinese government and its media have rallied against the system as if the THAAD in itself was an attack on China.
Trump has allayed some of those concerns since taking office.
A senior Chinese official told CNN this week that Beijing plans to present its own plan to Tillerson during his visit. There are even protests in South Korea where residents of areas where THAAD will be deployed worry that they will become targets.
It has been reported that when Trump assumed the US presidency, former President Barack Obama told him that North Korea was the No. 1 issue in USA national security.
Tillerson’s 20 years of failure assessment, while bleak enough, may actually be an understatement. “The U.S. commitment to the defense of Japan and its other treaty allies through the full range of our military capabilities is unwavering”. North Korea has a history of celebrating significant anniversaries by flaunting its military prowess.
North Korea has a long-standing ambition to be recognized as a nuclear power and carried out its latest ballistic missile launches this month.
Last week, it launched four more ballistic missiles and is working to develop nuclear-tipped missiles that can reach the United States. The next day, the US began bringing in equipment for the long-planned deployment in South Korea of a missile defense system, known by its acronym, THAAD. North Korea’s nuclear program is a complex, hard problem with no good answers.
The relatively inexperienced Tillerson has waded into a political minefield in South Korea, where President Park Geun-hye was impeached a week ago and preparations are being made for a snap election on May 9. His comments are likely to displease Beijing, where he travels this weekend.
Since then, North Korea has violated multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions and has been undeterred by tough global sanctions.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday called for all parties to return to talks.
Six-nation aid-for-disarmament talks with North Korea, which were hosted by China, have in fact been stalled since 2009.
A stable Japan-South Korea relationship is crucial for Japan, the USA and South Korea to coordinate its policies.