Tillerson: “North Korea, we’re not your enemy”

The United States is willing to sit down with North Korean leaders, but only if it relinquishes its pursuit of nuclear weapons


Speaking at the State Department’s press briefing, Rex Tillerson stressed that the United States was not seeking regime change or looking to send its military “north of the 38th parallel” that divides North and South Korea. Simultaneously, Tillerson emphasized that the danger posed by Kim Jong- Un, which test fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July, was unacceptable.

A willingness to talk if North Korea agrees to pursue denuclearization was also an Obama administration policy but arranging meetings with the leader of the Asian country seemed an arduous task. Some analysts have questioned whether assumptions that North Korea would be willing to scale down its arsenal are out of date. Regardless, this topic seems to be an attractive objective for the Trump administration.

Tillerson’s declaration comes after Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated that he and President Donald Trump agreed to take further action against North Korea following its latest missile launch. Abe told reporters that Trump pledged to “take all necessary measures to protect” Japan and praised his commitment to do so. The Prime Minister also called on China and Russia to do more to stop Kin Jong-Un.

“We have made consistent efforts to resolve the North Korean problem in a peaceful manner, but North Korea has ignored that entirely and escalated the situation in a one-sided way,” Abe affirmed. “The international community, starting with China and Russia, must take this obvious fact seriously and increase pressure, using their locations now that they are closer than the US”.

Latest launch particularly concerned Japan because the missile appeared to have landed in its exclusive economic zone. An area where the country enjoys special commercial and industrial rights. Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga stated that the missile flew for about 45 minutes and landed off the coast in waters between Japan and the Korean Peninsula.

Japan’s ambassador in the United Nations, Koro Bessho, made known his hopes that a draft will be made by the United Nations that will impose new sanctions against North Korea following its tests of intercontinental ballistic missile. ”The United States and China said  that they were making progress on a resolution that would then need to be discussed and approved by the 15-member Security Council.

For the United States, North Korea’s recent long-range missile tests have deepened concern about the threat the Asian country poses to the US mainland. The Pentagon has updated military options but, at the same time, says a confrontation would be catastrophic; “The strategy was a sustained campaign of peaceful but intensifying economic pressure to change the mind of North Korea about the US, but now that there’s growing doubt that denuclearization is a realistic possibility we need to figure out a new option”, declared Rex Tillerson during the press briefing.

Secretary Tillerson has taken a more diplomatic approach saying that “only the North Koreans are to blame for this situation”. The President Trump has repeatedly criticized China on twitter, which is its closest economical ally, for not doing enough to stop the country’s weapons program. The Asian giant, in a statement responding to Trump’s tweets, said the North Korean nuclear issue did not arise because of China and that everyone needed to work together to seek a resolution.

The second test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on the 28th of July, celebrated by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, was the latest to be conducted in defiance of a United Nation ban.


Latin American Post |  Carlos Eduardo Gómez Avella 

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto 


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