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News > World

US Sending Contradictory Message on DPRK Strategy

  • U.S. Secretary of State and former Exxon-Mobil Executive Rex Tillerson

    U.S. Secretary of State and former Exxon-Mobil Executive Rex Tillerson | Photo: REUTERS

Published 2 August 2017

Shortly after Senator Lindsey Graham said "If thousands die, they're going to die over there," the Secretary of State assured that the U.S. is not seeking regime change

United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson claimed on Tuesday that the United States is not seeking regime change in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and would like to have dialogue. However the statement comes on the tail of escalated “military option” rhetoric from other U.S. officials in addition to increased pressure against China over the Korean peninsula.

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“We do not seek a regime change, we do not seek the collapse of the regime, we do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula, we do not seek an excuse to send our military north of the 38th parallel,” Tillerson told reporters on Tuesday.

The former ExxonMobil executive said that the U.S. wants to try and tell North Korea that “we are not your enemy... we are not your threat.”

If that is indeed the U.S.'s goal, other officials taking a less conciliatory tone might not have received the memo. On Tuesday, according to CNN, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham said “if there's going to be a war to stop them, it will be over there. If thousands die, they're going to die over there, they're not going to die here and (President Donald Trump) told me that to my face... I'm saying (military options) are inevitable if North Korea continues.”

Tillerson did make it clear that any dialogue will have to take place under the conditions that “there is no future where North Korea holds nuclear weapons.” The DPRK leadership has maintained that nuclear capabilities are necessary to stave off a potential U.S. attempt at regime change. The countries have remained in a technical state of war since the conflict known in the U.S. as the Korean War did not end with a peace treaty. The war left much of North Korea's cities and infrastructure destroyed, and killed hundreds of thousands of civilians.

The U.S. Air Force tested an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Wednesday morning, launching it off the coast of California, a move which they specifically said was “not a response to recent North Korean actions.”

In addition to frequent threats of a possible “military option,” the U.S. has also used the heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula to ramp up economic threats against the growing global power-house, China.

President Trump took to Twitter this week to saying he is “very disappointed in China” for supposedly doing “nothing” about the DPRK. “China could easily solve this problem!” the president said.

China rejected the accusations, with an editorial in Chinese state media, the China Daily, saying that “Trump is wrong in his assumption that Beijing can single handedly settle the matter. As Beijing has said, repeatedly, it does not have the kind of 'control' over Pyongyang that the U.S. President believes it does.”

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