U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday said he wanted to “acknowledge” that Pyongyang had not conducted missile tests since the adoption by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) of Resolution 2371 earlier in the month.
Speaking to press at the State Department, Tillerson said he was “pleased” at the DPRK’s “restraint.”
“I think it is worth noting that we have had no missile launches or provocative acts on the part of North Korea since the unanimous adoption of the UN Security Council resolution,” Tillerson said. “And I want to take note of that; I want to acknowledge it.”
The Secretary of State said the U.S. hoped that this was a sign that North Korea was looking to de-escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula and, potentially, seek talks on its nuclear and missile development.
“Perhaps we are seeing our pathway to sometime in the near future having some dialogue… We need to see more on their part, but I want to acknowledge the steps they’ve taken thus far. I think it’s important to take note of that.”
North Korea’s last missile test took place on July 28, and was Pyongyang’s second reported test of the Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which, the country claims, would be capable of striking the mainland United States.
The test was North Korea’s 12th this year.
But the DPRK has chosen not to conduct tests since the passage of Resolution 2371 on August 5, despite reports in South Korea and international press last week that the country was preparing for a test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
Tillerson’s comments come amid the two-week long Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises, a joint exercise between the U.S. and South Korea that North Korea on Tuesday condemned as a “military confrontation” that could lead to “an actual war action.”
Around 50,000 South Korean soldiers and 17,500 total U.S. service members, with approximately 3000 coming from abroad, are due to participate in the combined military exercises, which take place every year in August.
The Secretary of State on Tuesday also said that the U.S. was pursuing multilateral efforts to put pressure on North Korea, in response to a question about a recent announcement by President Trump that U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan will continue.
“What our approach is to bring – as I said, these regional approaches is to bring all the other interest into this effort,” Tillerson said. “Much as we’ve done with North Korea and assembling this global effort in North Korea, I think too often we try to distill these challenges down to where it’s just the U.S. and some other country and only between the two of us can we solve it.”
“We have to enlarge the circle of interest and bring others… into the effort as well.”
The Secretary of State’s comments also come as the U.S. Treasury Department announced new designations against entities and individuals in China, Russia, Singapore and Namibia for supporting North Korea’s weapons programs, mineral trade, and use of overseas labor.
There are also indications that the U.S. is seeking to place pressure on allies with close ties to North Korea. A report in the New York Times on Tuesday suggested that the Trump administration had recently denied Egypt USD$96 million and delayed USD$195 million in support for its military, in part, over concerns about Cairo’s tied to Pyongyang.
Featured image: State Department
Join the influential community of members who rely on NK News original news and in-depth reporting.
Subscribe to read the remaining 578 words of this article.