The White House just undercut Rex Tillerson again on North Korea

16 December, 2017, 13:47 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
  • U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivers remarks on the U.S.-Korea relationship during a forum at the Atlantic Council in Washington

He said that the U.S. had offered assurances to China that any American troops that crossed the border into North Korea would be withdrawn.

Speaking to the Atlantic Council, Tillerson indicated that the USA already has plans to intervene militarily in North Korea in the event that its government collapses-on the pretext of securing the country's nuclear weapons.

After his four-day visit, the North's state-run media said that Pyongyang will communicate "through visits at different level on a regular basis in the future". This year, the North has conducted more than 20 ballistic missile launches and one nuclear test explosion, its most powerful yet.

"We want to work with Pakistan to stamp out terrorism within their boundaries as well, but Pakistan has to begin the process of changing its relationship with the Haqqani Network and with others". Tillerson said that there are only three conditions for dialogue.

In response to the remarks, an unnamed White House official told the Reuters news agency on Wednesday: "The administration is united in insisting that any negotiations with North Korea must wait until the regime fundamentally improves its behavior".

Washington says it is willing to have the first talks with North Korea unconditionally and then talk about denuclearization.

He did say that North Korea should refrain from additional provocations as it would be hard to continue dialogue if during the meeting the North decides to drop a bomb.

Speaking to a Washington think tank, he added that the United States military preparedness to respond to any North Korea threat is high and the military has bene ordered to have a "full range of contingencies available".

Washington has demanded the North to accept that giving up its nuclear arsenal would be part of any negotiations.

As the New York Times reported, it wasn't long before the White House rejected Tillerson's line.

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Baik Tae-hyun, spokesperson of Seoul's Unification Ministry, said of Tillerson's comments that Seoul wishes for talks to "happen soon" if they contribute to the goal of finding a peaceful solution for the North Korean nuclear problem.

She said: "Our policy on #DPRK has not changed".

In August, then-White House advisor Sebastian Gorka criticised Mr Tillerson after the secretary of state attempted to moderate President Trump's remarks on North Korea.

Kim Jong-un asked workers to make "more of the latest weapons and equipment" and to "booster up the nuclear force in quality and quantity". "Secretary of State Rex Tillerson swung the door wide open to negotiations with North Korea..." As he signed a $700-billion U.S. defence authorization bill that includes additional spending on missile defence, he referred to North Korea as a "vile dictatorship". "Because we already see elements of it in the commercial marketplace", he said. "It's a very bad situation - a situation that should have been handled long ago by other administrations", Trump said.

Tillerson added USA military preparedness to respond to any North Korean threat was strong in the meantime.

In a rare admission of discussion of a highly sensitive topic, Tillerson said Washington has discussed with Beijing how North Korea's nuclear weapons might be secured in case of instability there.

Mr Tillerson stressed the importance of the continuing relationship between the US, South Korea and Japan and on the shared aim with China to denuclearise the rogue state. The Trump administration has held a series of high-level dialogues with Beijing this year. The test drew condemnation from the USA and Pyongyang's only major ally, China.

Mr Tillerson has also defended the Obama administration deal to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions, which Mr Trump has railed against and sought to overturn.

Tillerson's comments are another warning that the U.S. war drive against North Korea is accelerating.

"That is our commitment we made to them".

His remarks are seen as different from Washington's long-held stance that it will pursue maximum pressure and engagement to force the North to abandon its nuclear weapons program, demanding North show honest attitude in its denuclearization efforts as a precondition for talks with Pyongyang. "If such restraint is not forthcoming, we can expect a further escalation of tensions and a growing risk of a catastrophic war".

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