State Secretary Tillerson takes only one reporter to Asia

In that context, Tillerson said trilateral cooperation between Japan, South Korea and the U.S.is extremely important, urging Seoul and Tokyo to settle a still-lingering row over the "comfort women" issue by observing a 2015 bilateral agreement.

Tillerson was speaking in Tokyo at the beginning of his first visit to Asia as secretary of state. The following year, then-U.S. President Bill Clinton struck a deal under which Pyongyang promised to freeze nuclear development in exchange for light-water reactors from the U.S. Beijing trotted out a compromise last week that would have had North Korea suspend its missile tests if the USA and South Korea suspended its joint military exercises, but the Kim regime rejected it even before the United States did. However, he didn't explain what this approach might be and only told North Korea that it "need not fear" the U.S.

In prepared remarks, Tillerson said he hoped to deepen cooperation among the United States, Japan and South Korea "in the face of North Korea's risky and unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile programs". "As time goes by, there will be fewer military conflicts that the USA will be directly engaged in".

China tightened the screws last month by banning coal imports from the North for the rest of this year, thus severing a vital lifeline.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday that State Department spending can not continue at the current pace.

Indeed, I do believe that you had a very productive meeting with Foreign Minister Kishida just now, and I do hope that your visit, after my meeting with you, will really contribute to the strengthening of our Japan-U.S. alliance. Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe subsequently warned that the threat from the North had "entered a new stage". "With this in mind, the United States calls on North Korea to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and refrain from any further provocation".

Tillerson said he would conduct a "comprehensive examination" of how the State Department's programs are run and how the department is structured.

And China has its own problems with U.S. trade policy.

"The United States holds a joint military exercise every year to push the situation on the Korean Peninsula to a serious situation, and that is the source of the super tough measures we must take", Pak Myong Ho told reporters in a rare briefing at the North Korean Embassy in the Chinese capital.

Getting South Korea on board may prove tougher.

"We remain committed to a USA foreign policy that advances the security and prosperity of the American people", the spokesperson told Politico.

However, despite close cooperation in security matters, trade friction between the two has not diminished, Ho opined.

  • Leroy Wright