United States sets deadline for its citizens to leave North Korea

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 3, 2017

The United States has issued a ban prohibiting its citizens traveling to North Korea, following the death of an American national who was imprisoned in the Asian country over espionage charges.

The US says it is concerned by the North Korea's nuclear and missile tests. Implementing secondary sanctions on Chinese entities that do business with North Korea could also cloud broader trade negotiations with Beijing, they say.

North Korea said the test-firing aimed to "finally confirm the overall technological specifications of the weapon system of Hwasong-14 capable of carrying large-sized heavy nuclear warhead, including its maximum range". "As weve said many times before, were not going to broadcast what were going to do until that happens", White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters yesterday.

It could be an opportune moment for a diplomatic breakthrough on Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs, which have been causing massive headaches for US President Donald Trump. "That still continues to be the focus, and were keeping all options on the table in order to do that", Sanders said.

"The goals are to stop the nuclear programme, stop the missiles, stop the aggression". This isn't Cuba in the early 1960s and America no longer tries to "make the world safe for democracy", but instead looks for pragmatic ways to protect ourselves - even if it means that accepting one of the world's most brutal dictatorships will continue under an unstable leader who tramples human rights and runs a country where American student Otto Warmbier was tortured and then died.

The Trump administration's ban on USA citizens traveling to North Korea will take effect early next month, and include exemptions for journalists and humanitarian workers. "We do not seek an excuse to send our military north of the 38th Parallel".

"We are trying to convey to the North Koreans: "We are not your enemy, we are not your threat".

Tillerson pressed the idea that the U.S. would like "to sit and have a dialogue about the future that will give them the future they seek and the future economic prosperity for North Korea but that will then promote economic prosperity throughout northeast Asia", without mentioning the US's goals in the dialogue.

Later, he repeated that if pressuring the North Korean regime peacefully fails, "our other options obviously are not particularly attractive".

Pyongyang has defied sanctions and worldwide pressure, saying it will continue to strengthen its military capability to protect itself from the threat posed by the presence of U.S. forces in the region.

On Tuesday, Mr Tillerson appeared to try to clarify the U.S. stance, saying: "We have been very clear with the Chinese; we certainly don't blame the Chinese for the situation in North Korea". The U.S. will ban travel to North Korea starting September 1.

"We don't know what the policies are, and the diplomats don't know what the policies are", Senator Ben Cardin, the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Tuesday.

Under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, North Korea has continued to expand its nuclear weapons program, despite a string of UN sanctions. On Monday, Russia's Foreign Ministry said: "We view as groundless attempts undertaken by the United States and a number of other countries to shift responsibility to Russia and China, nearly blaming Moscow and Beijing for indulging the missile and nuclear ambitions of (Pyongyang)".

Responding to the ICBM provocation with a show of force, the USA and South Korean troops on Wednesday conducted "deep strike" precision missile drills using Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and the Republic of Korea's Hyunmoo Missile II. What's been said before: US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said in May that war on the Korean Peninsula would be "tragic on an unbelievable scale".

"So thats really the objective, ? he said".

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