Tillerson says North Korea 'need not fear' United States

CAMP BONIFAS, South Korea (AP) - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday visited the world's most heavily armed border, greeting U.S. soldiers on guard near the tense buffer zone between rivals North and South Korea.

Citing sources from within the US intelligence community and the Pentagon, CNN reports that images from USA spy satellites show there's new military activity happening in North Korea.

"We will be having discussions with China as to further actions we believe they might consider taking that would be helpful to bringing North Korea to a different attitude about its future need for nuclear weapons", he said. Just before he took office in January, Trump tweeted: "It won't happen!" when Kim said North Korea was close to testing an ICBM.Tillerson is due to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at the weekend and press him to do more on North Korea.

Chas Freeman, a retired diplomat who served as the US ambassador to Saudi Arabia and as the lead interpreter for former President Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to China, said Tillerson's low-key style might be a survival tactic.

With apparently little prospect of a breakthrough, some foreign policy hawks in Washington have been pushing for secondary sanctions that would hurt Chinese banks doing business with North Korea.

Tillerson was speaking in Tokyo, at the start of a three-nation tour of North Asia.

He was speaking about similar botched quid pro quo agreements with North Korea in the past.

Tillerson made it clear he expected China, North Korea's sole major ally, to do more.

He called on Beijing to implement sanctions against North Korea and said there was no need for China to punish South Korea for deploying an advanced USA anti-missile system aimed at defending against North Korea.China says the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system's powerful radar is a threat to its security."We believe these actions are unnecessary and troubling", Tillerson said, referring to what South Korea sees as Chinese retaliation in the form of business restrictions in response to the deployment of the missile system."We also believe it is not the way for a regional power to help resolve what is a serious threat for everyone".

Tillerson was speaking as he met with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on his first trip to Asia as the top USA diplomat. It was important to "maintain a strong alliance in which there is no space between us", he said.

Tillerson is the second member of Trump's cabinet to visit Japan.

Given that China represents 90 percent of North Korea's economic activity, Beijing has leverage, Klingner said.

Two current and former officials said Tillerson is no stranger to cost cuts, having lived through waves of them at Exxon, and they suggested that he had convinced the White House to allow him to make numerous cuts himself.

Japan is seeking clues to Washington's policies both on North Korea and China's increasing military and economic clout while hoping to steer clear of trade rows.

Under the landmark deal, North Korea was promised food aid in return for a moratorium on its nuclear and missile development.

"America has provided $1.3 billion in assistance (to North Korea) since 1995".

Past U.S. administrations have considered military force because of North Korea's development of nuclear weapons, but rarely has that option been expressed so explicitly.

"So we have 20 years of failed approach", Tillerson said.

Under discussion in addition to potential military moves are tighter US sanctions on the regime and secondary sanctions against its commercial allies.

North Korea has significantly advanced its nuclear weapons capability carrying out five nuclear tests since 2006, including two explosions previous year.

"We know that other nations can take actions".

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