N. Korean nukes reach 'dangerous level': Tillerson
Posted : 2017-03-18 20:20
Updated : 2017-03-19 07:46
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi, right, shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after a joint press conference at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on Mar. 18. / AFP-Yonhap
By Ko Dong-hwan
The U.S. will work with China to make North Korea choose a better path, as tensions from the military state's nuclear and missile development have reached a dangerous level, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Saturday.
Tillerson made the remarks during a press conference in Beijing after his talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing. It was Tillerson's last leg of three-nation trip to Asia following Japan and South Korea.
Tillerson and Wang shared a view that "tensions on the (Korean) Peninsula are quite high right now," the American top evnoy said, according to Yonhap News Agency.
Tillerson said the situation over North Korea's nuclear and missile threats has reached a "rather dangerous level."
On Friday in Seoul, Tillerson said that all options, including military force, remain on the table in dealing with the North's military threats, adding the so-called policy of strategic patience with Pyongyang has ended.
North Korea conducted two nuclear tests in last year following those in 2006, 2009 and 2013. It has also launched more than 20 ballistic missiles since 2016, including the latest launch of a new intermediate-range missile.
Tillerson's remarks came after the U.S. President Donald Trump's administration called for China to actively use its leverage over North Korea to pressure its neighboring country.
Trump said on Twitter on Friday that North Korea is "behaving very badly" while "playing" the U.S. for years, but China has done little to help rein in the Kim Jong-un regime.
Wang stressed the role of diplomacy in what could be a different view over how to resolve the North Korean nuclear standoff. He said, "To resolve the North Korean issue, there is the need to seek both stringent sanctions and dialogue." He cited the now-dormant six-party denuclearization talks -- involving South and North Korea, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia. The talks have not been held since late 2008 when North Korea abruptly left the negotiation table.
China, the host of the talks, has requested to resume the talks but Seoul and Washington said that the North should first show sincere commitment to giving up its nuclear weapons.
Wang said that he and Tillerson also discussed Washington's deployment of an advanced U.S. missile system on South Korean soil and North Korea's evolving nuclear and missile threats.
China has expressed strong opposition to the installation of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery, saying that the action undermines Beijing's strategic interests.