Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 July 2019

US 'not seeking regime change' in North Korea, says Tillerson

The Secretary of State warned that Pyongyang should end its missile programme.

North Korea agreed on Friday to hold official talks with South Korea next week. KNCA
North Korea agreed on Friday to hold official talks with South Korea next week. KNCA

United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that Washington is not seeking to end Kim Jong-Un's regime in North Korea.

Mr Tillerson said that the US would be willing to hold talks with Pyongyang if the North Koreans agreed to end their nuclear missile programme.

Speaking to reporters, he warned: "We don't think having a dialogue where the North Koreans come to the table assuming they're going to maintain their nuclear weapons is productive."

However, Mr Tillerson assured the North Korean regime that the US had no plans to attack them.

"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," said Mr Tillerson. "And we're trying to convey that to the North Koreans."

"We are not your enemy. We're not your threat, but you are presenting an unacceptable threat to us, and we have to respond."

In contrast to US President Donald Trump's angry Twitter vent about China on Sunday, Mr Tillerson sought a more diplomatic approach when talking about North Korea's closest ally.

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

"Only the North Koreans are to blame for this situation, but we do believe China has a special and unique relationship, because of this significant economic activity, to influence the North Korean regime in ways that no one else can."

Mr Trump tweeted on Sunday that he was "very disappointed" in China for not doing more to stop North Korea's missile programme.

Kim said that North Korea could strike the United States after launching its latest ballistic missile test on Friday.

Updated: August 2, 2017 01:27 AM