US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson praised the diplomatic accomplishment of President Donald Trump's government this year, saying that "Americans should be heartened" by the way the Trump Administration handles the "biggest security threats," North Korea and China and Russia.
opinion published Thursday in the New York Times, Tillerson writes that Trump "abandoned a failed sabar strategy" and imposed a "pressing policy" on North Korea "through diplomatic and economic sanctions."
On 22 December, the UN Security Council enacted new sanctions against North Korea, reducing fuel supplies, tightening checks on goods coming out and entering North Korea, and requesting the expulsion of North Koreans working overseas – an important source of income for Pyongyang.
Tillerson also said pressure from America and its allies "has cut about 90 percent of North Korea's export revenue," most of which Pyongyang says is used to fund the development of illegal weapons.
"We hope that this international isolation will pressure the regime to negotiate seriously about the halt of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs," Tillerson wrote. After overcoming technological obstacles this year to develop a modern nuclear weapons program, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un on Christmas day condemned the new sanctions, saying the sanctions are "an act of war" and ignoring the country's nuclear weapons is a "dream."
Tillerson said China has imposed some import restrictions and sanctions against North Korea, "but it can and should do more." He said the United States would hold talks with China on issues such as trade imbalances and "issues of Chinese military activity in the South China Sea.
Tillerson also said the US would consider carefully its long-term relationship with China, which Tillerson described as rising as an "economic and military power."
Tillerson praised the American role in recapturing ISIS territory in Iraq and Syria and the new government strategy focusing on Afghanistan – South Asia Tilllerson said Afghanistan "can not be a safe place for terrorists" and appealed to Pakistan to fight terrorists "in its own country". [my/al]