On Sunday, March 19, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson concluded a diplomatic trip to the countries of China, Japan and South Korea. During his visit to Asia, Tillerson addressed the increasing threat North Korea poses to not only its neighboring countries, but also to the United States.
The New York Times reported on March 18 that the country of North Korea has “conducted a ground jet test of a newly developed high-thrust missile engine” (Sang-Hun, 2017, para. 1). Due to their steady enhancement of their missile systems, North Korea could soon acquire the capacity to develop a missile that would reach United States’ soil (Sang-Hun, 2017).
In a conference with South Korea’s Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, Secretary Tillerson expressed that the United States is committed to developing a strategy that will halt North Korea’s missile and nuclear weaponry agenda. The Secretary shared that “all options are on the table,” including a military option, to combat North Korea’s missile development. Tillerson urged North Korea to “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” (U.S. Dept. of State, 2017, para.16). Tillerson also asked China to follow through on their agreement to enact sanctions on North Korea that were accepted by the United Nations Security Council.
Discussing the enactment of sanctions against North Korea, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi stated that although the UN Security Council has “mapped out a series of increasingly tougher sanctions against [North Korea], they have also at the same time included clear provisions calling for efforts to resume the talks, to de-escalate the tension, and to safeguard stability of the peninsula” (“Remarks With Chinese Foreign Minister,” 2017, para. 12). Foreign Minister Wang went on to declare that “it is obliged upon all parties to implement the sanctions and restart the talks at the same time” (“Remarks With Chinese Foreign Minister,” 2017, para. 12).