Tillerson: US not seeking regime change in North Korea

Rex Tillerson

Rex Tillerson

"Once in effect, USA passports will be invalid for travel to, through and in North Korea, and individuals will be required to obtain a passport with a special validation in order to travel to or within North Korea", State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement last month announcing the policy.

He said: "We're trying to convey to the North Koreans: we are not your enemy".

In Malaysia, he will discuss bilateral relations with officials.

The second test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Friday, celebrated by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was the latest to be conducted in defiance of a United Nations ban. However, the recent Chinese-Russian "double freezing" initiative - suggesting that North Korea stops its ballistic missile and nuclear activities while the USA and its allies halt war games in the region - has been rejected by Washington.

North Korea has vowed to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States and US officials said the latest test had shown it may now be able to reach most of the country.

"We certainly don't blame the Chinese for the situation in North Korea", he said.

Last week, Kim boasted that North Korea could attack any target in the USA after carrying out its latest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test. He also said President Trump promised him "if there's going to be a war to stop them, it will be over there".

"He has told me that".

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. What's been said before: US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said in May that war on the Korean Peninsula would be "tragic on an unbelievable scale". What's been said before: Ambassador Nikki Haley, the USA representative to the United Nations, said the "time for talk is over" after the Friday missile test, though she was referring to the UN Security Council rather than direct talks involving the hermit state. "They do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk".

And he continued to push for Chinese help to keep pressure on North Korea due to their special economic relationship.

Analysts worry that the contradictory messaging and the United States' failure to grasp that North Korea's ability to nuke the United States is no longer just theoretical is risky. "They are putting a lot of money into it", Lewis told CNN's Kristie Lu Stout.

The administration will continue to permit four categories of travelers to visit North Korea after the policy takes effect, by applying for a special validation to their passport. "They are not laughing and the joke is on us".

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