Washington: The provocative missile launch by nuclear-armed North Korea poses a grave threat to the world, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Japanese and South Korean ministers and reaffirmed commitment to continue putting pressure on Pyongyang.
"They agreed the launch was an escalation of North Korean provocations and showcased the dangerous threat posed by the country to the United States, Japan, the ROK (South Korea), and countries around the world," the state department said yesterday.
Tillerson spoke to his Japanese and South Korean counterparts Taro Kono and Kang Kyung-wha respectively on separate phone calls to discuss North Korea's launch of a missile yesterday that flew over Japan.
During the phone calls, Tillerson reaffirmed with the two ministers the strength of the US alliance with their countries, as well as the ironclad commitment to their defence.
"Tillerson agreed with the two ministers to continue close coordination on efforts to increase pressure on North Korea to show the regime that its repeated violations of UN Security Council resolutions will only result in condemnation and isolation from the international community," it said.
Senator Edward J. Markey, top Democrat on the East Asia Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, denounced the launch of a ballistic missiles over Japan and said that there are new indications that Pyongyang may be preparing for its sixth nuclear test.
Markey, who returned last Thursday from leading a Congressional delegation to Korea, Japan, and the China-North Korea border, urgently called on the Trump administration to pursue a bold new strategy of sharply intensified economic pressure and resolute military defence and deterrence in undivided alliance with South Korea and Japan to address the threat.
He has been a leading voice in calling for direct negotiations with North Korea and is working with colleagues on the foreign relations and the banking committees to develop a legislative response that will provide the policy guidance as well as legislative mandates and authorities to put such a strategy into effect.
"This week's new North Korean testing activity highlights the need for The United States to immediately pursue a bold, realistic strategy in close concert with our allies in Korea and Japan, and working cooperatively with China, to negotiate an immediate freeze on North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile testing," Markey said.
"There is no military solution for a North Korea with nuclear weapons, so we must immediately and directly negotiate with Pyongyang for agreement to refrain from nuclear and ballistic missile testing in exchange for confidence-building measures from the United States to reassure the North Korean government that our military forces in the region are there only to deter and defend, not to attack," he said.
Senator Pat Toomy said Kim Jong-un is a menace whose threats to the United States and its allies further underscore the need for tougher economic sanctions.
North Korea's latest ballistic missile test is a clear provocation and risks destabilising the entire region, said Democratic Whip Steny Whip.
We will not be intimidated by the reckless actions of a dictator who enslaves his nation, he said.
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis will host an enhanced honour cordon welcoming South Korea's Defence Minister Song Young-moo at the Pentagon on Thursday....