Trump Contradicts Chief Diplomat on North Korea

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un inspects artillery launchers ahead of a military drill marking the 85th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean People's Army
Trump Contradicts Chief Diplomat on North Korea

19 December, 2017

Before the UNSC on December 15, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson named a "sustained cessation of threatening behavior" as a precondition for dialogue with Pyongyang.

The US has already emphasized its willingness to resolve the conflicting issues with North Korea and will continue to push for talks to end the weapons testing.

Tillerson repeated that "we do not seek, nor do we want, war with North Korea". "The pressure campaign must and will continue until denuclearisation is achieved".

He stated that there is "no daylight between the President's policy and the pursuit of that policy" on North Korea, addressing questions about a possible rift between the White House and State Department on starting talks with Pyongyang. He noted that after about two months of quiet on North Korea's part, the USA held massive military drills with South Korea and then announced it was placing Pyongyang on a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Tillerson referenced China's decision to cut off North Korea from oil in the past was a successful tactic. Council diplomats said Feltman told them the North Koreans kept repeating that the time was not right for talks. "When we're ready to have conversations ... dialogues, that will be up to the president and secretary of state".

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is criticizing China over its oil supplies to North Korea and Russian Federation for using North Korean laborers.

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North Korean UN Ambassador Ja Song-nam's subsequent speech, where he treated North Korea's status as a nuclear power as a fait accompli and dismissed calls to denuclearization, could be seen as a response to this.

"No, not yet", Mattis said when a reporter asked whether the November 29 test indicated a full capability to strike the US.

Singling out China, Pyongyang's sole ally, and Russia, Tillerson urged Beijing and Moscow to go beyond the current tough United Nations sanctions resolutions and impose unilateral measures. "The parties concerned should keep calm and exercise restraint", its deputy permanent representative, Mr Wu Haitao, said.

North Korea has conducted more than 20 ballistic-missile tests during 2017 as well as its most powerful nuclear explosion to date. "The United States will use all necessary measures to defend itself against North Korean aggression, but our hope remains that diplomacy will produce a resolution".

Speaking at a UN Security Council meeting on Friday, the secretary-general noted that he is deeply concerned by "the risk of military confrontation, including as a result of unintended escalation or miscalculation". "We do not regard this claim as an empty threat".

"It is time to immediately re-establish and strengthen communication channels, including inter-Korean and military-to-military channels", Guterres said. "This is critical to lower the risk of miscalculation or misunderstanding and reduce tensions in the region", the United Nations administrative head said.

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