United States raises military option against NKorea

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that "North Korea is behaving very badly" and "China has done little to help". But the US administration of former President George W. Bush removed Pyongyang from the list in 2008 in exchange for progress in denuclearization talks. Press TV correspondent Frank Smith files this report from the South Korean capital Seoul.

Tillerson also urged China, an ally of North Korea, to fully implement sanctions the United Nations imposed on North Korea for its nuclear weapons program and missile tests.

China has also been infuriated by the deployment of the THAAD, or Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, missile defense system in South Korea, which it says will both harm China's own security and do nothing to ease tensions. "All options are on the table", he said during a joint news conference in Seoul. But he offered no details about what would comprise the "different approach" to North Korea the USA will pursue.

But he offered no details about what would comprise the "different approach" to North Korea the USA will pursue.

Under his "new approach", the U.S.will refuse talks with Pyongyang unless it stops developing nuclear weapons - which has been the standard since 2009 when North Korea walked out of anti-nuke negotiations. Since then, the country has claimed it has conducted five successful nuclear tests, the first in 2006 and the latest in September 2016. Experts say it could have a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the USA within a few years.

For now, USA officials consider pre-emptive military action against North Korea far too risky, given the danger of igniting a regional war and causing massive casualties in Japan and South Korea and among tens of thousands of US troops based in both allied countries.Such ideas could gain traction, however, if North Korea proceeds with a threatened test of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States. State Department officials have described it as a "listening tour" as the administration seeks a coherent North Korea policy, well-coordinated with its Asian partners.

Rex Tillerson on Friday visited the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), which divides the two Koreas in line with an armistice agreement signed in 1953, to gaze on the North for himself. A statement by the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet said the three allies were conducting drills Wednesday in seas east of the divided Korean Peninsula and north of Japan to promote interoperability.

In September, the Obama administration sanctioned a Chinese company in connection with Pyongyang's nuclear program for the first time. It is guarded on both sides with land mines, razor wire fence, tank traps and hundreds of thousands of combat-ready troops.

Over the years, many top United States officials have visited the DMZ, which President Bill Clinton described in 1993 as the "scariest place on Earth". Land mine explosions in 2015 that Seoul blamed on Pyongyang maimed two South Korean soldiers and led the rivals to threaten each other with attacks.

The 1950-53 Korean War, fought under Truman, is technically still going, since it ended with a truce that has yet to be negotiated into an actual peace treaty.

Mr Tillerson also reaffirmed the US' iron-clad commitment to the defence of South Korea, and said the U.S. will continue to develop a "comprehensive set of capabilities" to counter the North's missile threats.

Earlier he warned that the policy of "strategic patience" with North Korea was over. We're exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures.

"In the face of the ever escalating threat it is clear that a new approach is required".

In Beijing, he may raise the prospect of imposing "secondary sanctions" on Chinese banks and other firms doing business with North Korea in defiance of sanctions, a USA official told Reuters in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity. He ruled out talks with North Korea until it commits to giving up its nuclear weapons.

"These are problems. It shows they are not listening and that nothing has worked", said Haley.

"We know that other nations can take actions".

Chinese state media said the problem is between Washington and Pyongyang and criticised what it described as the "throwing of dirty water" at it by the US and South Korea.

China is also expected to voice its strong opposition to this month's deployment of a sophisticated US missile defense system in South Korea.

  • Leroy Wright