Japan, US agree to urge N. Korea to halt nuke, missile programs

Japan, US agree to urge N. Korea to halt nuke, missile programs

Speaking at a news conference following talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, Tillerson said the escalating threat from North Korea's nuclear program shows a clear need for a "new approach".

Japan and South Korea, which host USA troops and are within range of North Korean missiles, support US efforts to increase diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea.

But the current frontrunner to replace her, Moon Jae-in, has suggested a new approach might be required in handling North Korea - and has voiced concern about the United States deployment of the Thaad defence system in the South.

The secretary of state also stressed that bilateral cooperation and trilateral cooperation including South Korea are "critical in addressing North Korea's nuclear and missile programs".

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Thursday the level of State Department spending in the past had been "simply not sustainable" and he willingly accepted the "challenge" President Donald Trump had given.

He also called on China, where he will visit on Saturday, to do more to pressure its ally North Korea.

"We hope they will not", said Xiao Qian, the Director General of the Asian Affairs department.

"With a policy review on North Korea under way in Washington, (Tillerson's visit) will give us a good opportunity to share our diverse experiences on the North that we have accumulated for decades and provide our input", he said on condition of anonymity.

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Tillerson said he would conduct a "comprehensive examination" of how the State Department's programs are run and how the department is structured. The idea of pulling in McPike, said Toner, was "to include a broader representation of US media".

Japan recalled its Ambassador to South Korea Yasumasa Nagamine in January over a comfort woman statue in front of the Japanese Consulate-General in Busan. "We expect that the diplomatic press corps will be afforded access to Secretary Tillerson equal to that given to the reporter on the plane".

During his two-day stay, Tillerson will meet with Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, who took over in December after then-President Park Geun-hye was impeached by parliament. "China is a major source of economic trade and activity with North Korea".

Tillerson said the alliance with Japan is a "cornerstone of peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region".

At the opening of the ministerial meeting, Kishida welcomed Tillerson, saying, "Choosing Japan as your first place to visit [as secretary of state] demonstrates the importance [the United States] places on the [Japan-U.S.] alliance".

While the USA and its allies in Seoul and Tokyo implore Beijing to press its economic leverage over North Korea, the Chinese have emphasized their desire to relaunch diplomatic talks - a non-starter for the US under current conditions.

Experts say it could have a nuclear-tipped missile that could reach the United States within a few years.

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