Tillerson Says State Department Spending 'Unsustainable'
- Author: Leroy Wright Mar 18, 2017,
Mar 18, 2017, 8:43
The Trump administration says it is conducting a review of North Korea policy.
Tillerson touched down by helicopter at Camp Bonifas, a US base about 400 meters (438 yards) from the Demilitarized Zone, a Cold War vestige created after the Korean War ended in 1953. He came from Japan...
There he met some of the more than 28,000 United States troops stationed on the peninsula, and toured the Joint Security Area, where North and South Korea soldiers stand facing each other.
"North Korea is behaving very badly".
But he said that by taking other steps, including sanctions, the U.S.is hopeful that North Korea could be persuaded to take a different course before it reaches that point.
"In the face of the ever escalating threat it is clear that a new approach is required". The Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty, which means the Korean Peninsula remains in a technical state of war.
At the least, the United States wants China to enforce existing sanctions on North Korea and police what USA officials have said are illicit Chinese business-and-banking deals that benefit the Kim regime and its steadily improving missile-development program.
Two current and former officials said Tillerson is no stranger to cost cuts, having lived through waves of them at Exxon, and they suggested that he had convinced the White House to allow him to make numerous cuts himself. "The more urgent critical thing is how we can prevent (North Korean) nuclear testing, the sixth test".
President Donald Trump is seen as seeking to examine all options - including military ones - for halting the North's weapons programs before Pyongyang becomes capable of developing a nuclear-tipped missile that could reach the USA mainland.
Tillerson has used his three-country Asian tour to underscore that the new Trump administration is fed up with years of North Korea policies that it sees as all carrot and no stick.
But US officials confirmed North Korea's provocative behaviour would be "front and centre" as Tillerson meets Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday. But he offered no details about what would comprise the "different approach" to North Korea the USA will pursue.
Tillerson also called on China to refrain from retaliating against South Korea over the ongoing deployment of an advanced USA missile defense system called THAAD on its soil, saying that it is "inappropriate" and "troubling".
North Korea is casting a long shadow over this trip, both for its potential nuclear threat and the recent flurry of missiles it tested, in a launch that sent weapons hundreds of miles toward Japan before landing in the Sea of Japan. The top American diplomat is traveling without a press contingent.
During last year's election campaign, presidential candidate Donald Trump called into question US security alliances and called for Tokyo and Seoul to contribute more for their defense.
Instead, Tillerson will test Chinese receptiveness to the idea of tougher measures on North Korea, while attempting to calm fears of an imminent trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.
And he said the US won't rule out arming other nations in the Far East with nukes to help keep Pyongyang in check.