dglobalnews.com Foreign Policy via Twitter: Trump Tweets Attack on North Korea
Published: Mon, March 20, 2017
Global Media | By Cecelia Webb

Foreign Policy via Twitter: Trump Tweets Attack on North Korea

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the "policy of strategic patience" is over regarding North Korea's pursuit of missile and nuclear weapons.

On Friday, Tillerson said military action is "on the table" in dealing with Pyongyang after meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se.

Before Tillerson arrived in Beijing on Saturday, Trump said North Korea was "behaving very badly" and accused China of doing little to resolve the crisis over the North's weapons programs.

Tillerson's remarks are consistent with those of UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, who told the Today Show (Matt Lauer with the scoops!) last week that "we're all aware military action could be an option" and North Korea is the free world's "absolute, number-one threat".

In Tokyo Thursday, Tillerson said efforts over the past 20 years to halt North Korea's nuclear development had failed. "But obviously if North Korea takes actions that threaten the South Korean forces or our own forces then that would be met with an appropriate response".

The US has been pressing China to do more to rein in North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes, including imposing tougher sanctions on North Korea.

But while Tillerson's words may or may not dissuade a morally corrupt Kim Jong-un, recent US actions could motivate China, North Korea's chief ally, to apply some pressure.

On Friday, concerns about North Korea prompted a missile evacuation drill on Japan's coast, where more than 100 residents of a town heard sirens and were told to take cover in an exercise that's seen as unprecedented.

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The joint interests of China and the United States far outweigh the differences, and cooperation is the only correct choice for us both.

Trump had branded China a currency manipulator stealing American jobs and also threatened to impose 45 per cent tariffs on Chinese goods.

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

Mr Tillerson's tone was far less aggressive, saying Mr Trump places a "very high value on the communications that have already occurred".

Tillerson also rejected the idea of negotiating with North Korea.

Speaking to Al Jazeera from Beijing, Victor Gao, director of the China National Association of International Studies, said: "US-China trade right now is worth nearly $600bn and it is a fact that China has a huge surplus in the trade with the US".

It follows what he said had been two decades of failure to stop the rogue state developing nuclear weapons. China realizes that a personal rapport with Trump is important, and watched in consternation as Japan's President Shinzo Abe stole a march on them with an early visit to Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

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