Tillerson arrives in South Korea for 2-day visit

"In the face of this ever-escalating threat, it is clear that a different approach is required", Tillerson said.

THAAD is created to intercept and destroy short- and medium-range ballistic missiles inside or beyond the atmosphere during their final, or terminal, phase of flight, US authorities say, adding the system is strictly defensive and poses no threat to other countries in the region.

"North Korea and its people need not fear the United States or their neighbors in the region who seek only to live in peace with North Korea".

President Donald Trump is likely to pressurize China in a bid to stop North Korea's nuclear advancements and provocation, a South Korean think tank predicted Thursday.

"We solemnly object to South Korea and the U.S.' deployment of THAAD and will resolutely take necessary actions in order to safeguard our security interests", the Chinese foreign ministry said last week, hinting at a military response to the move.

Tillerson will fly to China early on Saturday.

In Japan at the start of a three-country Asia tour, Tillerson offered no details about what would comprise the "different approach" to North Korea the US will pursue.

"So we have 20 years of failed approach".

"The talks will (also) help advance the bilateral consultations that have been underway and lay a good foundation for continued high-level coordination between South Korea and the USA going forward", Cho told reporters.

"The policy of strategic patience has ended", Tillerson told a joint press conference with his South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-Se.

However, Tillerson highlighted China's influence as North Korea's main economic and political benefactor.

During last year's election campaign, presidential candidate Donald Trump called into question USA security alliances and called for Tokyo and Seoul to contribute more for their defense.

But since his victory he has twice met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and has been careful to offer complete support.

"The U.S. allies, Japan and South Korea, want to know that the United States is going to continue to defend them but also is going to show a certain amount of finesse and diplomatic skills in dealing with China and with North Korea", said Robert Dujarric, director of the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies at Temple University's campus in Tokyo.

In strong statements that appear to signal a sea change in American policy towards the isolated country, the United States' top diplomat said North Korea's burgeoning missile and nuclear programmes must be halted.

The U.S.is now involved in annual military drills in South Korea that North Korea regards as a rehearsal for invasion.

During the talks with Tillerson, Kishida emphasized the importance of implementing the Japan-South Korea deal on the comfort women issue as the foundation of cooperation between Japan and South Korea and between Japan, the United States and South Korea.

Japan has been on edge over North Korean launches since a mid-range ballistic missile flew without warning over the northern part of the country and into the western Pacific in 1998.

  • Leroy Wright