US Secretary of State to visit Philippines

Marie Harrington
August 4, 2017

North Korea has said through its state media that Warmbier's death was "a mystery" and dismissed accusations that he had died as a result of torture and beating in captivity.

That's likely a non-starter for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un now, who looks at former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein - who did not have nuclear weapons - and Libya's Moammar Gaddafi - who gave up his nuclear ambitions for sanctions relief and aid, only to be toppled and killed after the USA intervened in the country's civil unrest - and see the ability to attack the United States with a nuclear weapon as the key to preventing any US-led attempts at regime change.

The State Department said it adopted the measure amid "mounting concerns over the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea's system of law enforcement". In Malaysia, he will discuss bilateral relations with officials.

US nationals will be barred from traveling to North Korea starting September 1 unless they have a special reason, the State Department confirmed Wednesday.

Tillerson's remarks came days after the DPRK launched its second intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in a month, following the first being launched on July 4.

He plans to engage with China's foreign minister at the meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Manila, but had no plans to meet North Korea's foreign minister there. Some policies and talking points have remained unchanged, the biggest being that negotiations without North Korea committing to denuclearization up-front are a non-starter. "We do not seek an excuse to send our military north of the 38th parallel", Tillerson said.

North Korea is now holding two Korean-American academics and a missionary, a Canadian pastor and three South Korean nationals who were doing missionary work.

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We do not see a regime change.

Arguing that China sees eye-to-eye with the USA about the threat posed by Pyongyang's aggressive weapons development, Tillerson said: "We don't blame the Chinese for the situation in North Korea". "We will no longer allow this to continue China could easily solve this problem!" he said.

He said other options were "not particularly attractive". "We continue to call upon them to use that influence with North Korea to create the conditions where we can have a productive dialogue".

China accounts for 90 per cent of economic activity with North Korea. "They do not see it in their interest for North Korea to have nuclear weapons, just as we do not see it in anyone's interest".

The ban comes at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and North Korea, which has been working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States.

On Tuesday, Mr Tillerson appeared to try to clarify the United States stance, saying: "We have been very clear with the Chinese".

Earlier on Tuesday, a leading Republican senator, Lindsey Graham, said Trump had told him he was willing to go to war with North Korea "if they continued to try to hit America with an ICBM".

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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