Tillerson says China asked North Korea to stop nuclear tests

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 28, 2017

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will chair a U.N. Security Council meeting Friday to galvanize worldwide action.

"North Korea vigorously pursued a strategic strike capability in 2016", he told lawmakers on Wednesday.

Amid alarm over North Korea's expanding nuclear weapons and missile arsenal, Washington and Seoul are speeding ahead with the installment of an advanced US anti-missile system in South Korea to cope with the growing threats.

The Trump administration told lawmakers Wednesday it will apply economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, as an extraordinary White House briefing served to tamp down talk of military action against an unpredictable and increasingly unsafe US adversary. "Kim's strategic capabilities are not yet an existential threat to the USA, but if left unchecked, he will gain the capability to match his rhetoric". Military experts outside of China say Beijing's worries are exaggerated and THAAD in South Korea wouldn't meaningfully improve US monitoring ability when Washington already watches Chinese missile launches through radar systems installed in Qatar, Taiwan and Japan.

"There is no doubt in my mind", Harris said. But Harris said it's not a matter of if but when.

"All three countries say they're counting on China to keep North Korea in check, but Beijing has said little except to call on everyone to exercise restraint", he adds.

"And the reason that China implements relevant resolutions is to fulfill our due worldwide obligation rather than being pressured by any outside parties", Geng Shuang said at a daily briefing.

The strategy hinges greatly on the cooperation of China, North Korea's main trading partner.

Susan Thornton, the acting top US diplomat for East Asia, said there's debate about whether Pyongyang is willing to give up its weapons programs.

China has told the Trump administration it warned North Korea it would impose unilateral sanctions should Pyongyang carry out another nuclear test, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Thursday, in possibly China's toughest threat yet against its defiant neighbor.Tillerson, speaking on Fox News, said China has asked North Korea not to conduct any more nuclear tests, Reuters reported.

But signaling that military action remains possible, Thornton told an event hosted by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies - the Washington think tank has advocated tougher USA policies on Iran and North Korea - that the administration treats North Korea as its primary security challenge and is serious that "all options are on the table".

"We are not seeking regime change and our preference is to resolve this problem peacefully", Thornton said, "but we are not leaving anything off the table".

The U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet says these joint exercises "demonstrate a shared commitment to security and stability in Northeast Asia as well as the U.S. Navy's inherent flexibility to combine with allied naval forces in response to a broad range of situations".

"We should not kid ourselves here, a conflict on the peninsula would be unlike anything we have seen in decades", she said. "That's been the agenda for the last 20 years".

North Korea's U.N. mission said Wednesday the nation would react to "a total war" with Washington by using nuclear weapons. The Obama administration attempted to resurrect them in 2012, but a deal to provide food aid in exchange for a nuclear freeze soon collapsed.

Admiral Harris told the committee that the financial sanctions imposed against the North Korean regime by the United States and other countries have done nothing to slow North Korea's quest for weapons of mass destruction.

President Trump and Defense Secretary James Mattis have said all options are on the table to counter what Harris called "the reckless North Korean regime" in his testimony Wednesday before the House Armed Services Committee.

On Wednesday, South Korea started installing key parts of a contentious US missile defense system that also has sparked Chinese and Russian concerns.

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