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12 Agosto 2017, 03:00 | Crisanna Felipe
Is China being left behind
Rex Tillerson has had to make several tricky diplomatic tours since becoming USA secretary of state.
The other concern: that by the time the sanctions really start cutting into the North's economy, potentially changing the government's thinking about the wisdom of pursuing nuclear weapons, it may be too late.
Defense experts say the ICBM could reach as far as the USA states of Alaska and Hawaii, but questions remain over whether North Korea can field an ICBM capable of carrying a nuclear warhead on its cone that could survive reentry into earth's atmosphere.
Beijing has maintained a clear and consistent position on North Korea for months, calling on multiple occasions for Pyongyang to halt its nuclear weapons program in exchange for the US and South Korea holding off on military drills.
A Southeast Asian diplomat said Sunday that Vietnam had pushed for stronger language despite opposition from numerous ministers, whose countries rely heavily on China for trade and investment.
On the political front too, the administration has only limited affinity with ASEAN allies.
China has strongly opposed what it calls interference by countries outside the region in the South China Sea issue.
On Saturday, the UN Security Council imposed its toughest round of sanctions yet against Pyongyang over its two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July - but Mr Tillerson appeared more conciliatory on Monday. KCNA said on Thursday the North Korean army would complete plans in mid-August to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan to land in the sea 18 to 25 miles (30-40 km) from Guam. Vietnam alongside other countries also appealed to the partner countries and the global community to continue to support the efforts of ASEAN and China to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties on the East Sea and push for early and result-oriented negotiations for an effective and legally-binding Code of Conduct of Parties on the East Sea.
"The resolution is one that was passed unanimously thanks to cooperation from not only the United States but also China and Russia", Kang said.
North Korea is ready to give the United States a "severe lesson" with its strategic nuclear force if it takes military action against it, and will not put its nuclear program or its missiles on the negotiating table, it said in a statement to a regional meeting on Monday.
And if that wasn't clear enough, last month, the isolated Asian nation tested intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that experts say could reach USA shores, specifically Alaska.
Thornton says the USA isn't now considering China's proposal to freeze US military exercises with South Korea in exchange for the North halting nuclear development.
Guam is home to a USA air base, a Navy installation, a Coast Guard group and roughly 6,000 US military personnel.
The North has not responded to the overtures.
The meeting comes as the USA and Asian nations join together to try to step up Pyongyang's economic and diplomatic isolation.
Wang said that apart from the new sanctions, the resolution also made clear that the six-party talks process, a stalled dialogue mechanism with North Korea that also includes Russian Federation and Japan, should be restarted. They're only a tactic for getting Kim Jong Un's totalitarian government to end its missile advances and atomic weapons tests, and there is little evidence to suggest this newest round of economic pressure will be more successful than previous efforts.
"The best signal that North Korea could send that they're prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches", the secretary told reporters. However, it is unlikely to squeeze its neighbor too hard for fear of pushing the regime hard enough to destabilize it. "They want stability. They don't want to bring about the possibility of state collapse in North Korea, they don't want refugees streaming across the border and the last thing they want is a unified Korean state that will be closely allied to the United States, which would likely happen". As it stands, it does not look like North Korea will budge on US and United Nations demands.
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