Tillerson Puts Preemptive Strike Against North Korea 'On the Table'

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At a news conference following their meeting, Tillerson said he reiterated the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear program, adding that the two sides promised to cooperate in order for Pyongyang to make better decisions.

There was no immediate reaction from North Korea but the country's top newspaper Rodong Sinmun carried a commentary Saturday threatening to launch a devastating nuclear attack if the U.S. takes military action.

"The policy of strategic patience has ended", Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, said of dealing with North Korea Friday.

Last week, North Korea launched four missiles into the seas off Japan, in an apparent reaction to major annual military drills the U.S.is now conducting with South Korea.

United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said this morning that the Trump administration is taking a new, tougher approach toward China in an effort to deter North Korean aggression.

Despite continuing efforts to persuade North Korea to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons, including $1.35 billion in US aid over the past 15 years, the country has persisted in the development of what Tillerson labeled a "dangerous and unlawful" nuclear arms program.

Abraham Denmark, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, argues that while Tillerson's remarks represent a rhetorical change from the Obama years, the Trump administration's policies toward the region are the same.

The state department said the report that Tillerson had been too exhausted to hold extended meetings was untrue, adding that no joint meal had been scheduled on the Seoul leg of the trip.

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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Chinese President Xi Jinping have pledged to bolster ties between the two countries, sidestepping areas of disagreement with a public display of cooperation. "North Korea must understand that the only path to a secure, economically prosperous future is to abandon its development of nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and other weapons of mass destruction". He did not detail what specific action would prompt a potential act of war from the United States.

China and the U.S. would work together to resolve the nuclear tensions on the Korean peninsula, he said.

Tillerson's China visit, it seems, is aimed at finding common grounds for bottleneck issues to prepare conducive atmosphere for Trump-Jinping summit, something that China also realises. They agreed that Sino-US relations should be guided by "non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation".

Tillerson also discussed the disputed South China Sea issue with Wang yesterday. "So we hope China will alter its position on punishing South Korea". The two sides appeared to have made some progress or put aside differences on hard issues, at least in advance of a planned summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump.

"Once there is chaos in North Korea, it would first bring disaster to China.

In return, North Korea has detonated nuclear weapons and launched ballistic missiles".

There he met some of the more than 28,000 U.S. troops stationed on the peninsula, and toured the Joint Security Area, where North and South Korea soldiers stand facing each other.

The two sides appear to have toned down differences as they work on finalising a trip by Xi Jinping to the USA, possibly next month, for his first summit with Donald Trump.