Tillerson to press China and ASEAN states on North Korea in Manila
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will support China and other Asian countries to take stronger action against North Korea by attending regional meetings in Manila this week, a senior US official said on Wednesday.
Susan Thornton, Deputy Secretary of State for East Asia said Tillerson would have the opportunity to meet with the Chinese minister of nations of the South Asian Association – It is in Manila, but had no plans to meet with the Foreign Minister Of North Korea there.
Thornton said Tillerson, who arrived in Manila on Saturday, will seek further cooperation to isolate North Korea and enforce sanctions on U.N. She said Washington wanted the country to reduce transactions “dramatically” with Pyongyang.
“What we try to do is push this pressure and isolate North Korea so it can see what the opportunity costs of developing these weapons programs,” reporters said in a conference call to preview the Tillerson travels.
Thornton said China had taken “significant strides … frankly unprecedented steps” to increase pressure on its North Korea, but could do “much more” to strengthen the implementation of existing sanctions and impose more.
“We would like to see faster action and more obvious and faster results, but I think we are not giving it yet.”
Thornton’s remarks contrast with those of US President Donald Trump, who accused Beijing on Saturday of doing nothing to help North Korea and highlighted the US’s huge trade deficit with China.
A senior administration official Trump said Tuesday that Trump was close to a decision on how to respond to what he considered unfair trade practices in China and taking into account measures that could lead to tariffs or other restrictions on trade in Chinese goods .
Thornton declined to comment on any possible action, but stressed that despite the tweets of Trump, North Korean issues and commercial were not tied into a “transactional”, but “in a kind of philosophical way. ”
“If we can work together to do this, we certainly could have a productive economic relationship,” he said, “if we can work together to do this, And mutually beneficial in which we enjoy both a reciprocal and equitable access to the markets of the other. ”
Thornton said Tillerson continue to pressure China on the problem of the South China Sea, while in Asia, the United States pressed to quickly adopt a code of conduct on territorial claims competition.
He said that the United States “would undoubtedly” raise human rights with the government of Philippine President Duterte.
Criticism of the United States bloody war on drugs Duterte as Trump predecessor, Barack Obama, has damaged long-term allied relationships. Duterte has remained defiant, accusing critics of “trivializing” his drug campaign with concern for human rights.