The United States is open to North Korea turning the corner: Tillerson and President Moon

The United States is open to North Korea turning the corner: Tillerson and President Moon

Chika Mori and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Rex Tillerson, the United States Secretary of State, is hoping that North Korea will respond to possible dialogue providing some good faith can be made. Of course, much depends on the ruling elites in North Korea to respond in kind. However, it is clear that the administration of President Donald Trump is open to reaching accommodation despite alarm bells ringing in some quarters.

Tillerson knows full well that North Korea needs something in return otherwise the crisis will spiral out of control. Hence, the Secretary of State acknowledged that dialogue would benefit North Korea because the goal was for this nation to “feel secure and prosper economically.”

Yet, in order for America to reach a solution with North Korea, the political and military elites in Pyongyang must refrain from threatening behavior. In other words, the onus is on North Korea to step back and halt missile launches that are aimed at propelling its military might.

Tillerson said, “The best signal that North Korea can give us that they are prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches.” If this happens, then “other means of communications” would become open between America and North Korea.

Reuters reports, “Last week, Tillerson said North Korea needed to cease both its missile launches and nuclear weapons tests for talks to begin. It was not clear why he urged Pyongyang on Monday to halt only missile launches and the State Department did not respond to a request for clarification.”

Hence, it appears that America is leaving the nuclear issue with China to solve by putting increased pressure on North Korea. This makes sense providing political elites in Beijing are on board. After all, it is easier for North Korea to back down on missile launches in order to reach some sort of accommodation with America because the bar is much lower. Thereby, enabling political elites in Beijing to reach out to Pyongyang by persuading military – and political elites of this nation – to pull back before the crisis becomes uncontainable.

Equally important, it is clear that President Moon Jae-in of South Korea seeks dialogue despite all the difficulty this entails. In other words, the new leader of South Korea is open to reaching an accommodation with North Korea because of his enmity towards another war on the Korean Peninsula. This in itself is containing militant voices within Washington that support a different line than that of Tillerson.

The political office of Moon said, “Above all, President Moon emphasized that South Korea can never accept a war erupting again on the Korean Peninsula.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/07/world/asia/north-korea-asean-tillerson.html

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles-idUSKBN1AN054

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