Tillerson, Mattis favor“peaceful pressure campaign”
In a big u-turn on North Korea, US administration has begun de-escalation. The top officials, Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State and James Mattis, Defense Secretary have jointly said that the aim of US “peaceful pressure campaign” was denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, not regime change. Their move seems to be altogether different than President Trump’s “fire and fury” warning against Pyongyang.
In a co-authored opinion piece published by Wall Street Journal on Sunday, the two top officials said, “We have no desire to inflict harm on the long-suffering North Korean people, who are distinct from the hostile regime in Pyongyang.” They further said, “We are replacing the failed policy of ‘strategic patience’… with a new policy of strategic accountability.”
Elsewhere in their piece the two top administration officials said that North (Korea) faces a choice: “Take a new path toward peace, prosperity and international acceptance, or continue further down the dead alley of belligerence, poverty and isolation.”
Mattis and Tillerson urged China to take a leading role in bringing Pyongyang to the negotiating table. “The region and world need and expect China to do more,” they wrote.
On Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping called his US counterpart Donald Trump and urged him to avoid rhetoric that could inflame tensions with North Korea. The second phone call within few days from Chinese President was triggered after Trump escalated his warning to North Korea, saying it would “truly regret” taking hostile action against US.
A CNN report on Monday said that North Korean military figures are putting the final touches on a plan to fire four missiles into the waters around the US territory of Guam, to be presented to leader Kim Jong-un by “mid-August.” It’s not clear if and when Kim will order the launch.
Moreover the Joint Information Center of Guam, a US unincorporated territory in the Western Pacific Ocean, put out a notice on Saturday and warned residents on how to prepare “for an imminent missile threat” from North Korea.