Rex Tillerson calls for dialogue with North Korea

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 2, 2017

Referring to Trump's Twitter rages at Beijing, Tillerson said the "situation in North Korea" tests the relationship between the U.S. and China.

The North Korean dictator had threatened Trump during his New Year's speech that his country was on the verge of developing a long-range ICBM capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.

While claiming that "only the North Koreans are to blame for this situation", Tillerson once again voiced Washington's long-standing position that China should pressure its neighbor to halt its nuclear ambitions. "We would like to sit and have a dialogue about the future".

Last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un bragged that his country could strike any target in the U.S. after it carried out its latest intercontinental ballistic missile test.

Trump had recently expressed disappointment that Beijing had not applied as much pressure as he would like or caused a change in North Korea's behaviour. Analysts agreed that large parts of the United States mainland, including Los Angeles and Chicago, were in range of Pyongyang's weapons.

US President Donald Trump has been very outspoken about the need to stop North Korea from developing the nuclear programme. "If thousands die, they're going to die over there - and he's told me that to my face". I believe him, " foreign policy hawk Lindsey Graham told the "Today" show.

While Trump has said several times that all options - including military strikes - remain on the table, his defense chief and other leading officials have said such a move would be "catastrophic", as Pyongyang would likely target USA allies Japan and South Korea in retaliation, potentially leading to mass casualties.

The Trump administration policy on North Korea has been to ratchet up the pressure on Pyongyang with sanctions in order to push them to the negotiating table. "I prefer the diplomatic approach".

Arguing that China sees eye-to-eye with the United States about the threat posed by Pyongyang's aggressive weapons development, Tillerson said: "We don't blame the Chinese for the situation in North Korea".

But a diplomatic solution is favoured, given the potential for massive casualties in South Korea and Japan - as well as among U.S. troops stationed in the area - if Pyongyang retaliates.

- Insisted the US doesn't blame China for North Korea's nuclear behavior despite the American pressure on Beijing.

"I think the American people want the two most powerful nuclear nations in the world to have a better relationship", Tillerson said. "We understand our responsibilities, and I think he's as committed as I am to trying to find ways that we can bring this relationship back close to one another".

The ICBM is believed to be a step forward in the North's nuclear program.

Tillerson did emphasize that the danger posed by Pyongyang, which test fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July, was unacceptable.

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