Tillerson speaks about pre-emptive force as an option with North Korea

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
Tillerson speaks about pre-emptive force as an option with North Korea“All options are on the table”

The United States signaled a tougher strategy toward North Korea on Friday that leaves open the possibility of pre-emptive military action and rejects talks with the communist nation until it gives up its weapons of mass destruction.

“Let me be very clear: the policy of strategic patience has ended,” said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. “We are exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures. All options are on the table.”

Tillerson was speaking after visiting the heavily militarized border between the rival Koreas. His comments are likely to displease Beijing, where he travels this weekend. China has been advocating diplomacy to avoid a conflict on the divided peninsula.

Also Friday, President Donald Trump tweeted: “North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been ‘playing’ the United States for years. China has done little to help!”

Past U.S. administrations have considered military options against North Korea and have publicly said that an attack on the U.S. or its allies would prompt a devastating response.

Tillerson’s comments were unusual, however, as he appeared to be implying, in public, that the U.S. would consider military force as a way of preventing an attack by Pyongyang, and not just as a means of retaliation. It also comes amid a greater sense of urgency about the threat because of North Korea’s rapid progress toward developing the means to strike the U.S. with a nuclear-tipped missile. Risks of military action are high as North Korea could unleash a massive artillery barrage on Seoul in retaliation.

The Trump administration says it is conducting a review of North Korea policy. At a news conference in Seoul, alongside his South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-se, Tillerson said U.S was exploring the new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures and emphasized that Obama administration’s policy of “strategic patience”— that saw tightening of sanctions to try and get North Korea back to negotiations aimed at denuclearization — had ended.

Strike on North Korean nuclear facility 

Asked about the possibility of using military force against North Korea, he said, “all of the options are on the table.”

Tillerson said the U.S. does not want a military conflict, “but obviously if North Korea takes actions that threaten South Korean forces or our own forces that would be met with (an) appropriate response. If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action that option is on the table.”

Former members of the Clinton administration have said that the U.S. considered a strike on a North Korean nuclear facility in 1994 when it appeared on the brink of producing weapons-grade fissile material and refused U.N. inspections. A diplomatic deal was struck to avert conflict.

Since then, North Korea has violated multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions and has been undeterred by tough international sanctions. The North conducted two nuclear test explosions and 24 ballistic missile tests last year. Last week, after the U.S. and South Korea began annual military drills that the North views as rehearsal for invasion, it test-fired four missiles into seas off Japan.

Central to the U.S. review is China and its role in any bid to persuade Pyongyang to change course. China remains North Korea’s most powerful ally and dominant trading partner. China recently announced it was suspending coal imports that are an important source of revenue for North Korea for the rest of the year in adherence with U.N. sanctions.

Tillerson urged China and other countries to fully implement the sanctions. He criticized China’s opposition to a U.S. missile defense system being deployed in South Korea and accused it of waging “inappropriate and troubling” economic retaliation against the South. China sees the system as a threat to its own security although the U.S. says it is only targeted against North Korea. Tillerson said China should focus on the North Korean threat that makes the deployment necessary.

Halting the U.S.-South Korean military drills 

Tillerson also rejected Beijing’s proposal of halting the U.S.-South Korean military drills in exchange for a nuclear freeze by North Korea. He said the allies had no intention to stand down the exercises that are defensive in nature and conducted transparently, unlike North Korean missile launches. He further sounded skeptical about the idea of negotiating a freeze that would leave the North with “significant capabilities” that could threaten the region and U.S. forces.

The U.S. retains nearly 30,000 troops in South Korea, and nearly 50,000 in neighboring Japan.

More broadly, Tillerson poured cold water on the idea of resuming negotiations with Pyongyang, saying, “20 years of talks with North Korea have brought us to where we are today.”

“It’s important that the leadership of North Korea realize that their current pathway of nuclear weapons and escalating threats will not lead to their objective of security and economic development. That pathway can only be achieved by denuclearizing, giving up their weapons of mass destruction, and only then will we be prepared to engage with them in talks,” he said.

Six-nation aid-for-disarmament talks with North Korea, which were hosted by China, have in fact been stalled since 2009. The Obama administration refused to resume them unless the North re-committed to the goal of denuclearization, something it has shown little interest in doing.

Earlier Friday, Tillerson touched down by helicopter at Camp Bonifas, U.S.-led U.N. base about 400 meters (438 yards) from the Demilitarized Zone, a Cold War vestige created after the Korean War ended in 1953. He then moved to the truce village of Panmunjom inside the DMZ, a cluster of blue huts where the Korean War armistice was signed. He is flying this week without the usual contingent of journalists who normally cover the secretary of state.

Tillerson is the latest in a parade of senior U.S. officials to have their photos taken at the border. But it was the first trip by the new Trump administration’s senior diplomat.

The DMZ, which is both a tourist trap and a potential flashpoint, is guarded on both sides with land mines, razor wire fence, tank traps and hundreds of thousands of combat-ready troops. More than a million mines are believed to be buried inside the DMZ. The Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty, which means the Korean Peninsula remains in a technical state of war.

Source: bigstory.ap.org

Read more here.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

Tornos
  1. 18/01 01:30

    Greek Defense Minister: FYROM can use the name “Vardarska”

  2. 18/01 01:28

    NATO rules out invitation to FYROM without solution to name issue

  3. 18/01 01:18

    Pelion ski centre "Agriolefkes" opens after last days' heavy snowfall

  4. 18/01 00:57

    ASTA president: US travel agents invest in Greece as a leading tourist destination

  5. 18/01 00:27

    Air passengers and flights at Greek airports break records during 2017

  6. 17/01 22:35

    Hellenic Seaways scraps Thessaloniki-Sporades Islands ferry route

  7. 17/01 20:09

    Giant US investors want stake in Calamos’ Ethniki Insurance takeover

  8. 17/01 18:52

    Turkish Coast Guard vessel bumps into Greek warship Nikiforos near Imia islet

  9. 17/01 16:40

    Tourism receipts hit record high in Greece during January-September 2017

  10. 17/01 14:39

    Ancient Greek mosaic floor discovered in war-torn Syria while digging for mines

  11. 17/01 12:10

    Cambridge Uni archaeologists make new discoveries on Greek island of Keros

  12. 16/01 20:19

    Transport Minister: Contracts for Larnaca port and marina to be signed in 2018

  13. 16/01 20:06

    Albanian PM: We are not blame for deteriorated relations with Greece

  14. 16/01 20:06

    Albanian PM: We are not blame for deteriorated relations with Greece

  15. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  16. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  17. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  18. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  19. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  20. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  21. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  22. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  23. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  24. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  25. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  26. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  27. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  28. 16/01 19:46

    Report: These are the 10 worst countries to be a Christian

  29. 16/01 19:41

    4.2-magnitude quake shakes Attica without damages reported

  30. 16/01 19:31

    Land deed operators oppose abolition of offices throughout Greece

  31. 16/01 19:23

    Turkey reveals route for new canal to facilitate Bosphorus shipping

  32. 16/01 19:13

    Contracts signed for Paralimni marina in south-eastern Cyprus

  33. 16/01 19:09

    UN sees positive momentum to solve the "Macedonia" name dispute

  34. 16/01 18:59

    JP Morgan hires Greek former debt management agency chief

  35. 16/01 16:48

    Visit Greece: Kavala, the port city with the numerous faces

  36. 16/01 12:32

    Privatization projects in northern Greece will boost local economy

  37. 16/01 10:22

    British Museum: Rodin proves why Parthenon Marbles should stay in UK

  38. 16/01 02:19

    World Tourism hits 7-year high record in 2017 led by arrivals to Med destinations

  39. 16/01 02:10

    Chinese Cosco-controlled Piraeus Port Authority to reveal €466 million investment plan

  40. 16/01 02:05

    FYROM’s FM: Greece does not have exclusivity of the term "Macedonia" (video)

  41. 16/01 02:02

    Nicosia to host first Trilateral Summit among Cyprus, Greece and Jordan

  42. 16/01 01:58

    Island of Karpathos in Forbes’ 33 most affordable places to vacation in 2018

  43. 16/01 01:52

    Hotel.com: Athens third preferred European destination for Chinese tourists

  44. 16/01 01:45

    Greek-American and Jewish American leaders visit Greek president and premier

  45. 16/01 01:40

    Well-attended first event in untold tale of the Holocaust in Greece

  46. 16/01 01:36

    Bill on prior actions approved by Greek Parliament with 154 votes

  47. 16/01 01:30

    Erdogan vows to drown US-backed Syrian Border Force and labels it “terrorist army”

  48. 16/01 01:17

    Revenues and visitors to Greek museums and sites record two-digit rise in 9 months of 2017

  49. 16/01 00:27

    Greece-FYROM energy relations to be significantly upgraded with infrastructure

  50. 15/01 23:51

    Akram Khan at Onassis Cultural Center in Athens on February 21-27

  51. 15/01 23:42

    Report: US and Turkey spat could boost Greek tourism

  52. 15/01 23:35

    ESM: Greece must continue with reforms even after bailout ends

  53. 15/01 23:24

    Greek citizens to face foreclosures for debts over 500 euros to state

  54. 15/01 22:26

    Cypriot veterans win right to damages over United Kingdom torture claims

  55. 15/01 22:19

    Pharmacies in Greece excluded from deregulated Sunday trading laws

  56. 15/01 20:08

    Hundreds of groups and clubs prepare for rally on Macedonian issue in Greece

  57. 15/01 18:57

    Greek Economy Ministry to promote new development model

  58. 15/01 16:51

    Prespes border crossing: Interministerial meeting headed by Greek FM

  59. 15/01 14:40

    Hellenic Banking Association meets with ECB's Danièle Nouy and Benoît Coeuré

  60. 15/01 12:12

    Digital Policy Minister: Room for more than 1,300 radio stations in Greece

  61. 15/01 10:13

    Land of Discovery: Stunning water kingdom in Western Greece

  62. 15/01 01:20

    Minister aims to make 2018 year of research and innovation in Greek agriculture

  63. 15/01 01:16

    Greek popular songwriter and stand-up comedian Tzimis Panousis dies at 63

  64. 15/01 01:13

    Defense Minister: The Greek people will have to decide on FYROM name

  65. 15/01 01:06

    Santorini authorities rationing cruise passenger visits to Greek island

  66. 15/01 01:02

    Latest poll: ND still holds double-digit percentage point lead over SYRIZA

  67. 15/01 00:59

    Medical tourism makes northern Athens suburb of Halandri an Airbnb hotspot

  68. 15/01 00:40

    Report: Filmmaker’s search for beauty takes her to the Greek islands (video)

  69. 15/01 00:36

    EU talks Greek debt relief with new monitoring and no clean exit

  70. 14/01 22:56

    Dealing with bad debtors a Greek government priority during the next period

  71. 14/01 22:17

    Snow front in parts of Central and Northern Greece (video)

  72. 14/01 20:52

    Τurkey upset with European Union statement over collapsed Cyprus unity talks

  73. 14/01 18:52

    ‘Anonymous Greece’ claims responsibility for hacking Turkish president Erdogan’s website

  74. 14/01 16:10

    Suddeutsche Zeitung: Greece recording tourism boom despite the crisis

  75. 14/01 14:59

    Guide: Visit wonderful Greece during all twelve months of the year

  76. 14/01 12:54

    All AEGEAN and Olympic Air cancelled and rescheduled flights due to strike on Monday January 15

  77. 14/01 10:45

    Pylos excavation findings make Greek archaeologists revise beliefs on Mycenaean Era civilization

  78. 13/01 15:44

    Greece's unemployment figure for October 2017 drops to 20.7%

  79. 13/01 15:38

    Minister: Greece attracted roughly €4 billion € in foreign direct investments during 2017

  80. 13/01 15:34

    Eurozone source: Next tranche of loans to Greece will be €6-7 billion

  81. 13/01 15:31

    Sharp rise in Cyprus tourism revenue between January – October 2017

  82. 13/01 15:26

    No bids in auction for emblematic high speed ferry 'Aiolos Kenteris' in Greece

  83. 13/01 15:21

    ND will not take part in FYROM meeting without common government position

  84. 13/01 15:18

    New HFSF board member officially assumes post in Greece

  85. 13/01 15:15

    Cyprus director Leonidas Loizides brings Sophocles’ Electra to New York City

  86. 13/01 15:08

    Tender process for fourth metro line in Athens entering second phase

  87. 13/01 14:02

    Hellenic Seaways expected to post EBITDA near €20 million mark for 2017

  88. 13/01 12:56

    Greek PM tries to calm Orthodox Church over FYROM name feud

  89. 13/01 10:50

    Distinctions for Navarino Junior Golf Academy in southern Greece

  90. 12/01 23:27

    Greek tourism: Mixed picture for November 2017 and positive signs in start of 2018

  91. 12/01 23:23

    Tourism revenue in October 2017 records 4.2% increase in Cyprus

  92. 12/01 23:17

    Current casino operators say Greek draft law gives advantage to new 'players'

  93. 12/01 23:10

    First Cannabis Expo 2018 opens at Athens Tae Kwon Do stadium

  94. 12/01 22:59

    U.S. embassy and consulate to remain closed on January 15

  95. 12/01 22:52

    Hollywood hotshots greenlight black Greek warrior Achilles (video)

  96. 12/01 22:40

    Passenger traffic in Cretan airport of Chania up by 2.6% in 2017

  97. 12/01 22:16

    Foreclosure auctions to go exclusively online for debts to Greek state after May 1

  98. 12/01 22:14

    AHEPA, AHI, and Jewish organizations tour Greece, Cyprus, and Israel

  99. 12/01 22:04

    Action for Wildlife' rescues orphaned baby hedgehogs in Greece

  100. 12/01 22:04

    Greek professor wins 2018 Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics