US to North Korea: We Are Not Your Enemy

Secretary Tillerson Addresses Reporters at the Department Press Briefing
Secretary Tillerson Addresses Reporters at the Department Press Briefing

In an address to North Korea U.S. Secretary Rex Tillerson has said the U.S. doesn’t seek a regime change and doesn’t seek an excuse to send U.S. military north of the 38th parallel.

Mr. Rex Tillerson said, ” We have reaffirmed our position towards North Korea, that what we are doing, we do not seek a regime change; we do not seek the 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.”

Secretary Tillerson urged the North Korean regime for a dialogue and expressed worry over ‘unacceptable threat’ they are presenting to the U.S. Mr. Tillerson said, “we’re trying to convey to the North Koreans we are not your enemy, we are not your threat, 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.”

“We would like to sit and have a dialogue with them about the future that will give them the security they seek and the future economic prosperity for North Korea, but that will then promote economic prosperity throughout Northeast Asia,” he added.

U.S. Secretary Rex Tillerson said that the North Korean threats they were talking about over the last several months have been materialized. He said, “And I think, as many of you have watched over the last several months, that threat has materialized in the ways that we expected it would. And that’s why early on we identified it as a very urgent matter, and the North Koreans have certainly proven the urgency of that to us.”

“we’re trying to convey to the North Koreans we are not your enemy, we are not your threat, 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.”

Reiterating his calls for a peaceful pressure on the regime in North Korea Mr. Secretary said, “We initiated a sustained and continued intensified campaign on what I like to call peaceful pressure, because the options available to us, I think as all of you well understand, are limited, and particularly if we think we are operating under a short period of time. So we felt the appropriate thing to do first was to seek peaceful pressure on the regime in North Korea to have them develop a willingness to sit and talk with us.”

He urged to China to appear as a responsible actor in the Korean Peninsula as they have profound influence over the Korean regime. He also praised Chinese commitment for a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

“China does account for 90 percent of economic activity with North Korea. The Chinese have been very clear with us that we share the same objective, a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. They do not see it in their interest for North Korea to have nuclear weapons, just as we do not see it in anyone’s interest. China has ways that they can put pressure on and influence the North Korean regime because of this significant economic relationship that no one else has,” said Mr. Rex Tillerson.

Mr. Secretary praised Chinese economic growth and of a long period of no conflict between China and the U.S. “It has been defined, since the opening of China with the historic Nixon visit, the adoption of the “one China” policy, the three documents and agreements, and that has given us a long period of no conflict between China and the U.S., creating conditions for enormous economic growth and prosperity in China, which the U.S. and the rest of the world has seen benefits from as well. That has defined the last 40 to 50 years of our relationship,” said secretary Tillerson.

Mr. Tillerson urged China to work together to address this global threat where both the countries have a common objective. Mr. Secretary said, “Can we work together to address this global threat where we have a common objective? And where we have differences – in the South China Sea, and we have some trading differences that need to be addressed – can we work through those differences in a way without it leading to open conflict and find the solutions that are necessary to serve us both?”

 


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