WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on tensions on the Korean Peninsula (all times local):
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says China has asked North Korea to conduct no further nuclear tests.
Tillerson says China also told the U.S. that it had informed North Korea “that if they did conduct further nuclear tests, China would be taking sanctions actions on their own.”
The top U.S. diplomat made the remarks in an interview Thursday on Fox News Channel.
Tillerson adds that the U.S. is not seeking regime change in North Korea. He says, “What we are seeking is the same thing China has said they seek — a full denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”
With international support, the Trump administration wants to exert a “burst” of economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea that yields results within months to push the communist government to change course from developing nuclear weapons.
Susan Thornton, the acting top U.S. diplomat for East Asia, says there’s debate about whether Pyongyang is willing to give up its weapons programs. She says the U.S. wants “to test that hypothesis to the maximum extent we can” for a peaceful resolution.
But signaling that military action remains possible, Thornton has told a Washington think tank that the administration treats North Korea as its primary security challenge and is serious that “all options are on the table.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will chair a U.N. Security Council meeting Friday to galvanize international action.
The senior U.S. Navy officer overseeing military operations in the Pacific says the crisis with North Korea is at the worst point he’s ever seen. But he declined to compare the situation to the Cuban Missile Crisis decades ago.
Adm. Harry Harris Jr. is commander of U.S. Pacific Command. He tells a Senate committee, “It’s real.”
Harris says he has no doubt North Korea intends to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the United States.
The admiral says there’s uncertainty within U.S. intelligence agencies over how far along North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs are. But Harris says it’s not a matter of if, but when.
Harris also says he doubts the North Korean people will rise up to topple North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
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