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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urges Pyongyang to trust U.S.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urges Pyongyang to trust U.S.

Posted May. 20, 2017 07:15,   

Updated May. 20, 2017 07:32


In regard with the Donald Trump administration’s stance on North Korea, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Thursday (local time) that he hoped North Korea would trust the U.S. even if it accompanies risks, adding there are businessmen around him willing to making investments in North Korea.

“Sanctions and pressure are not by themselves aimed at harassing North Korea, but are designed to create an opportunity for North Korea's development through opening its doors and scrapping its nuclear program" Secretary Tillerson was quoted by Hong Seok-hyun, Seoul’s special envoy to the U.S., during their 40-minute talks at the State Department building in Washington.

According to an official from the delegation, Secretary Tillerson reaffirmed his policy towards North Korea by saying that the U.S. would not pursue “regime change or invasion, and will guarantee the current system,” urging Pyongyang to trust the U.S. without “inquiring about U.S. intentions through back channels.”

State Tillerson is reported to have stressed that it will take several procedures to get to the options of preemptive strike and military actions, making it clear that all the options (towards the North) that the U.S. employs are “diplomatic, security, and economic means.”

On the other hand, the comment pointing to the possibility of pursuing peace by engaging with Pyongyang on certain conditions, which was allegedly made by President Trump the previous day during the meeting with the delegation, turned out to have been a bit exaggerated in its tone.

One of the delegation members said that the word "peace" was not voluntary but rather induced (from President Trump) by South Korean special envoy Hong in the process of dialogues, and that the overall tone suggested that the U.S. president would pursue engagement under the premise of pressure and sanctions against the North rather than opting for a sudden shift of stance to pursue peace with the regime. Some experts say the delegation made a somewhat proactive interpretation about President Trump’s remarks to stress that there are little differences of opinion over their stance towards North Korea.

Seung-Heon Lee ddr@donga.com