Japan and the United States are set to hold security talks Thursday at which they are likely to agree to increase pressure on North Korea and affirm a closer bilateral alliance as Pyongyang appears to be moving rapidly toward acquiring the capability to deliver nuclear strikes on Washington or NY.
"We have had no missile launches or provocative acts on the part of North Korea since the unanimous adoption of the UN Security Council resolution", Tillerson said, referring to a vote on August 5 to impose more sanctions against North Korea following its ballistic missile tests in July.
Just before Tillerson alluded to the existence of a carrot to tempt North Korea, however, the US Treasury brandished its stick. "I want to take note of that and acknowledge it", Tillerson said.
In May, North Korea thumbed its nose at Tillerson personally by testing a missile just after the US secretary of state chaired a U.N. Security Council meeting at which he warned that failure to curb Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs could lead to "catastrophic consequences".
"We hope that it is the beginning of the signal that we are looking for - that they are ready to restrain their level of tensions, they're ready to restrain their provocative acts", said the USA top diplomat.
President Trump warned a hasty USA withdrawal from Afghanistan would leave a vacuum for terrorists to fill and said he had chose to keep troops there to "fight to win" to avoid the mistakes made in Iraq.
Vincent Brooks, commander of US Forces Korea, said the allies should continue the war games until they "have reason not to".
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Kono called on the North's traditional ally and main trading partner, China, to take actions "to make North Korea change its behavior".
United States has been in Afghanistan for over a decade and a half without victory.
China and Russian Federation backed the UN sanctions but have urged the United States to enter dialogue with North Korea in return for a freeze in weapons testing.
REX TILLERSON: Obviously any diplomatic effort in any situation where you have this level of threat that we're confronted with, a threat of proportions that none of us like to contemplate, has to be backed by a strong military outcome if North Korea chooses wrongly.
A third company, Mingzheng International Trading Limited, which maintains offices in Hong Kong and mainland China, is in fact a front for Foreign Trade Bank, North Korea's main foreign exchange bank, the Treasury said.
Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies, said there was a need for clearer US messaging vis-a-vis North Korea.
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