WASHINGTON, Aug 2 — The US administration plans to pursue the policy of “peaceful pressure” on North Korea over the communist state’s missile program, but will not seek the collapse of the country’s regime or “accelerated reunification” of the Korean Peninsula, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday.
“We initiated a sustained and continued intensified campaign for what I like to call, peaceful pressure, because the options available to us, I think, as all of you well understand, are limited,” he told reporters.
“We have reaffirmed our position towards North Korea, that what we are doing, we do not see a regime change. We do not seek the collapse of the regime. We do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula,” Tillerson continued.
“So, we felt the appropriate thing to do first was to seek peaceful pressure on the regime in North Korea to have them develop a willingness to sit and talk with us and others, but with an understanding that a condition of those talks is there is no future where North Korea holds nuclear weapons or the ability to deliver those nuclear weapons to anyone in the region, much less, to the home land,” he added.
The situation on the Korean Peninsula remains extremely tense as Pyongyang continues to actively pursue its nuclear and ballistic missile program. In early July, North Korea launched the Hwasong-14 ballistic missile, later claiming that it successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
The US authorities also said that, according to their information, Pyongyang tested an ICBM, but the Russian Defense Ministry said details of the launch indicated a test of a medium-range ballistc missile.
On July 30, US armed forces detected another test launch from a North Korean submarine, CNN reported citing own Pentagon sources.
On July 26, CIA director Mike Pompeo estimated the possibility of Pyongyang developing an ICBM able to strike the United States as quite high. Washington Post quoted sources in US special services as saying that ICBMs with nuclear warheads may enter service in North Korea as early as next year.