‘U.S. DOES NOT SEEK TO TOP­PLE NORTH KOREA’

Wash­ing­ton wants to per­suade Py­ongyang to give up mis­sile, nuke pro­grammes through peace­ful pres­sure

New Straits Times - - World -

WASH­ING­TON

THE United States does not seek to top­ple the North Korean gov­ern­ment and would like di­a­logue with Py­ongyang at some point, but only on the un­der­stand­ing that it can never be a nu­clear power, Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son said on Tues­day.

Speak­ing at the US State Depart­ment days af­ter Py­ongyang tested its sec­ond in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile,

Tiller­son re­it­er­ated that Wash­ing­ton sought to per­suade North Korea to give up its mis­sile and nu­clear weapons pro­grammes through peace­ful pres­sure.

“We do not seek a regime change, we do not seek a col­lapse of the regime, we do not seek an ac­cel­er­ated re­uni­fi­ca­tion of the penin­sula, we do not seek an ex­cuse to send our mil­i­tary north of the 38th Par­al­lel,” Tiller­son said.

“We are not your en­emy... but you are pre­sent­ing an un­ac­cept­able threat to us, and we have to re­spond. And, we hope that at some point, they will begin to un­der­stand that and we would like to sit and have a di­a­logue with them.”

How­ever, “a con­di­tion of those talks is there is no fu­ture where North Korea holds nu­clear weapons or the abil­ity to de­liver those nu­clear weapons to any­one in the re­gion, much less the (US) home­land,” he said.

North Korea has vowed to de­velop a nu­clear-tipped mis­sile ca­pa­ble of hit­ting the US and Wash­ing­ton of­fi­cials said the lat­est test had shown it may now be able to reach most of the coun­try.

Tiller­son re­peated calls for North Korea’s neigh­bour and ally, China, which has urged a re­sump­tion of talks with Py­ongyang, to use its in­flu­ence to cre­ate the con­di­tions for “pro­duc­tive di­a­logue”.

He said other op­tions were “not par­tic­u­larly at­trac­tive”.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion had said all op­tions were on the ta­ble in deal­ing with North Korea, in­clud­ing mil­i­tary ones. How­ever, given the po­ten­tial for mas­sive ca­su­al­ties from North Korean re­tal­i­a­tion in al­lied South Korea and Ja­pan, and among US troops there, it had stressed the need for a diplo­matic so­lu­tion. Reuters

Rex Tiller­son

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