Tillerson To Cut Teeth With First Trip To Volatile E

While he has swallowed a big budget cut and had the White House veto his chosen deputy, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is avoiding a public conflict with U.S. President Donald Trump over his department's budget, six current and former U.S. officials said on Thursday.

During a press conference held after meeting Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo on Friday, Tillerson told reporters that United States efforts over the past 20 years to denuclearize the North have failed, calling for a "new approach" in dealing with Pyongyang.

Tillerson called on China to give up its opposition to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system or act to "address the threat that makes THAAD necessary". They say sanctions and even an eventual reopening of worldwide talks with North Korea - provided it shows a willingness to halt its weapons programs - are preferred.

However, Tillerson dismissed suggestions by Beijing that the USA should drop joint military exercises with South Korea as a show of good faith to Pyongyang.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he is "willingly" taking on the challenge of a sharp cut in funding for the State Department.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck told a regular press briefing on Thursday that the meeting of the two top diplomats is "timely" and "meaningful" for both to reaffirm their "ironclad" alliance and explore a coordinated approach to deal with the North.

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.

Tillerson is the latest in a parade of senior USA officials to have their photos taken at the border. Tillerson, however, stressed that cooperation with Japan and South Korea was "critical".

He said the USA does not want a military conflict, but if North Korea takes actions that threaten South Korean or US forces it would be met with an "appropriate response".

"China has been part of the problem rather than part of the solution", said Bruce Klingner, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, who describes North Korea as a global military threat.

Tillerson is making his first trip to Asia as the top usa diplomat. It was appropriate that Tillerson confirmed at a press conference that the US stood behind that agreement.

As Abe and Tillerson agreed on the importance of the two countries sharing a strategic goal on North Korea, the Japanese side is relieved for now.

In the face of Chinese aggression, Kim said the United States could consider deploying mobile tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea - which has been nuclear free since 1991.

He visits South Korea and China later in the week.

Tillerson was speaking in Tokyo, at the start of a three-nation tour of North Asia.

He also urged Beijing to drop any retaliatory action against South Korea, amid allegations businesses and the tourism industry is being punished for Seoul's stance on the issue.

"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.

"We encourage both sides to approach that agreement in earnest and honest efforts to bring this to a conclusion", Tillerson said.

  • Leroy Wright