Washington, Aug 2 (IANS) US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that Washington does not seek to topple the Kim Jong-un regime in Pyongyang and is willing to sit down for talks with the country on the condition that it stops its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Tillerson made the remarks at the US State Department on Tuesday after North Korea tested its second intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on July 28, the Washington Post reported.
“We do not seek a regime change, we do not seek a 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,” he said.
“We are trying to convey to the North Koreans: ‘We are not your enemy, we are not your threat. But you are presenting an unacceptable threat to us, and we have to respond’.”
Tillerson added that the US hopes that “at some point”, North Korea will understand and sit down for a dialogue.
The Secretary of State said the administration had been attempting to exert “peaceful pressure” on North Korea, “because the options available to us are limited, particularly if we think we are operating under a short period of time”.
On last Friday, the Kim Jong-un regime conducted its second ICBM test, in which the projectile flew for 47 minutes reaching a maximum altitude of 3,724.9 km before falling into the Sea of Japan.
This was the second such test by Pyongyang in a month. On July 4, it conducted its first successful ICBM test in a show of military progress made by the country.
North Korea said the test-firing aimed to “finally confirm the overall technological specifications of the weapon system of Hwasong-14 capable of carrying large-sized heavy nuclear warhead, including its maximum range”.
Tillerson is travelling to Asia this week, where he will continue his drive to increase “peaceful pressure on the regime in North Korea to have them develop a willingness to sit and talk to us and others”.
But he made it clear that there was no possibility of talks if North Korea did not abandon its nuclear programme. He said China had a particular role to play, as it accounted for 90 per cent of trade with the Communist nation.
Trump had emphasised that point as he courted Chinese President Xi Jinping during a state visit and pressured Beijing to use its influence on Pyongyang.
The US President had recently expressed disappointment that Beijing had not applied as much pressure as he would like or caused a change in North Korea’s behaviour.
Arguing that China sees eye-to-eye with the US about the threat posed by Pyongyang’s aggressive weapons development, Tillerson said: “We don’t blame the Chinese for the situation in North Korea.”
“But we do believe China has a unique and special relationship,” he added. “We continue to call upon them to use that influence with North Korea to create the conditions where we can have a productive dialogue.”