Tillerson: US wants dialogue with N. Korea at some point

(Reuters and CNBC) – The United States does not seek to topple the government of North Korea and would like to have a dialogue with Pyongyang at some point, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said yesterday.

“We do not seek a regime change, we do not seek a collapse of the regime, we do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula, we do not seek an excuse to send our military north of the 38th Parallel,” Tillerson told reporters at the State Department.

“We are not your enemy … but you are presenting an unacceptable threat to us, and we have to respond. And we hope that at some point they will begin to understand that and we would like to sit and have a dialogue with them.”

However, “a condition of those talks is there is no future where North Korea holds nuclear weapons or the ability to deliver those nuclear weapons to anyone in the region, much less the (US) homeland,” he said.

North Korea has vowed to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States and US officials said the latest test had shown it may now be able to reach most of the country.

Meanwhile according to a CNBC report, Chinese state media said this morning that US President Donald Trump is “wrong” when he says China can resolve the ongoing North Korea nuclear crisis on its own.
“Trump is wrong in his assumption that Beijing can single-handedly handle the matter. As Beijing has said, repeatedly, it does not have the kind of ‘control’ over Pyongyang that the US president believes it does,” said English-language newspaper China Daily in an unsigned editorial.

The editorial appeared to be responding to Trump’s accusations on Twitter that China was doing “nothing for us with North Korea, just talk.” The president made that claim following the reclusive nation’s firing of a new intercontinental ballistic missile that experts say has the potential to reach the US mainland.

In its editorial, China Daily said Pyongyang’s constant saber-rattling is a threat to China too, as the world’s second largest economy “feels threatened by the damage Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons ambitions may inflict on its immediate neighborhood.”

“For that reason, although US President Donald Trump has expressed frustration at what he considers Beijing’s failure to dissuade Pyongyang from its nuclear adventure, Beijing has every reason to feel unfairly burdened with a task that is obviously beyond it, especially as it has been working diligently to broker a peaceful resolution to the crisis,” it added.

“Nor will Beijing accept Trump’s allegation that it has done nothing. From Beijing’s perspective, it has significantly increased the pressure on Pyongyang by doing everything the strengthened UN sanctions regime requires of it.”

The editorial said a peaceful consensus is best, although that “appears increasingly distant and unachievable.”

Commentaries in state media offer additional insight into government thinking.

In China’s latest official response on the crisis, foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Saturday that China “opposes” North Korea’s launch activities, which violate UN Security Council resolutions and “run counter to the collective will of the international community.”


Top: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photo: North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency / Reuters

SOURCE: Reuters report written by David Brunnstrom and CNBC report by Huileng Tan


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