Author: China National News
Posted on:  Friday 28th April, 2017

Donald Trump opened his presidency earlier this year, with confident public statements claiming that he would meet Kim Jong Un and convince him to give up his nuclear ambitions.

The calls for a meeting between the two leaders was termed ‘nonsense’ by North Korean administration.

Since then, a lot has changed.

Experts have repeatedly sought clarity on Trump’s policy towards dealing with North Korea over the first 100 days of his administration.

On Thursday, Trump warned that a “major conflict” was possible with North Korea, even though he would prefer to solve the standoff over the country’s nuclear and missile programme through diplomacy.

Meanwhile, China is said to be helping to pressure Kim Jong Un and his regime to give up the nuclear programme.

Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state had earlier said the Chinese had warned Pyongyang that it would impose punitive measures if North Korea carried out provocative tests.

Speaking to Fox News, he said, “We know that China is in communications with the regime in Pyongyang. They confirmed to us that they had requested the regime conduct no further nuclear test.”

Tillerson added that the Chinese told the regime “that if they did conduct further nuclear tests, China would be taking sanctions actions on their own.”

He further said that the North Korean regime viewed its nuclear weapons and missile programmes as a guarantee of survival, claiming that the Trump administration is seeking to change that mindset.

Tillerson said, “We want to change that calculus of theirs and we have said to them: your pathway to survival and security is to eliminate your nuclear weapons and we and other countries will help you on the way to economic development.”

During the interview, he reassured that the objective of America was to rid the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons, not topple Kim Jong Un – adding, “We do not seek a regime change in North Korea. We are not seeking the collapse of the regime.”

Tillerson added that the U.S. would be prepared to enter into direct talks with the regime of Kim Jong Un.

Clarifying that it would have to prepare to negotiate getting rid of all its nuclear weapons.

He noted that the U.S. administration would “wait as long as it takes” for talks to start, provided that the reclusive nation conducted no new nuclear or intercontinental ballistic missile tests.

Tillerson is now scheduled to chair a special ministerial session of the UN security council on North Korea.

The council will be aimed at convincing other members to impose existing sanctions on Pyongyang more rigorously.

Daryl Kimball, Head of the Arms Control Association has meanwhile welcomed the Trump administration’s readiness for direct talks with North Korea.

Kimball said in a statement, “There are some new things here. They are making clear that regime change is not the goal. There is a recognition that North Korea has security concerns. I think what we hearing the evening is more of the engagement part of the maximum pressure engagement policy that they are slowly rolling out. It’s going to require persistence and patience.”

Reports also quoted the head of the U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Harry Harris, who is overseeing military operations in the Pacific, as informing the Senate that the standoff with North Korea was the worst he had seen.

Harris added that he has no doubt that the North Korean leader intends to fulfill his pursuit of a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the United States.

The admiral also acknowledged that there’s uncertainty within U.S. intelligence agencies over how far along North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs are but that it’s not a matter of if, but when.

Trump meanwhile said, “There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely. We’d love to solve things diplomatically but it’s very difficult.”

He further suggested that since Xi Jinping visited the U.S. president in Florida earlier this month, there had been a breakthrough in Chinese readiness to help pressure Kim Jong Un on the matter.

Trump noted, “I believe he [the Chinese president] is trying very hard. He certainly doesn’t want to see turmoil and death. He doesn’t want to see it. He is a good man. He is a very good man and I got to know him very well. With that being said, he loves China and he loves the people of China. I know he would like to be able to do something, perhaps it’s possible that he can’t.”


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