Washington: China has warned North Korea of sanctions if the reclusive nation went ahead with another nuclear test, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said.
“They (Chinese) confirmed to us that they had requested that the regime conduct no further nuclear test. In fact, we were told by the Chinese that they informed the (North Korean) regime that if they did conduct further nuclear tests, China would be taking sanctions action on their own,” Tillerson told Fox News in an interview aired last night.
The US Secretary of State appeared to be praising China of its role in North Korea.
“We’re asking a lot of the Chinese. I think in the past, the assumption has been the Chinese would only take limited action. We’re going to test that assumption,” he said in response to a question.
Tillerson, however, said he does not seek a regime change in North Korea.
“We do not seek regime change in North Korea. We’re not seeking a collapse of the regime,” said the top American diplomat.
Meanwhile, a top American admiral told lawmakers that the goal of the North Korea’s leader is to have nuclear weapons.
“There is no doubt in my mind,” Admiral Harry Harris, Commander of the US Pacific Command, said when Senator John McCain Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said it is clear that his goal is a nuclear weapon and the means to deliver it to the US.
Harris said China has the capability to influence in effect North Korean behavior for a number of reasons.
“It had chosen not to exert the full range of its influence. I think we’re in a different place now. I think the jury’s out its early days. We’ll have to see if China has changed its view of its willingness to influence Kim Jung Un,” Harris said in response to a question.
North Korea, he said, remains the most immediate threat to the security of the US and its allies in Japan and Korea.
“North Korea has vigorously pursued a strategic strike capability with nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches, which it claims are intended to target the US, South Korea, Japan and, just earlier this week, Australia,” he said.
He said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is making progress on his quest for nuclear weapons and a means to deliver the intercontinentally and all the nations need to take this “threat” seriously because North Korea’s missiles point in all directions.
Noting that North Korea’s capabilities are not yet an existential threat to America, but if left unchecked, it will eventually match the capability to hostile rhetoric, Harris warned.
He called on China to exert its considerable influence to stop Pyongyang’s unprecedented weapons testing.
While recent actions by Beijing are encouraging, the fact remains that China is as responsible for where North Korea is as North Korea itself, he observed.
“In confronting the reckless North Korean regime, it’s critical they were guided by a strong sense of resolve both privately and publicly, both diplomatically and militarily. As President Trump and Secretary Mattis have made it clear, all options are on the table. We want to bring Kim Jong Un to his senses and not to his knees,” Harris said.
US has already sent aircraft carrier-led strike group to the Korean peninsula to step up pressure against North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un to refrain from developing a nuclear- tipped ballistic missile capable of reaching mainland US.(PTI)