U.S. can talk to North Korea if it stops missile tests - Tillerson

Trump praises new UN sanctions on North Korea

Trump praises new UN sanctions on North Korea

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, who has launched a slew of sweary tirades against the USA in recent months, appeared to take a more conciliatory approach when he greeted secretary of state Rex Tillerson, saying he was a "humble friend" of America.

"The basic political dynamics remain: China does not want North Korea to crumble, and China craves geopolitical stability above everything else", he said. He wouldn't give a concrete timeframe but said that the USA would "know it when we see it".

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, second from left, prepares for a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, second from right, in the sidelines of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting and its Dialogue Partners.

And Washington isn't done turning up the heat.

Trump officials maintain a list of Chinese banks and other firms which the US would be prepared to levy sanctions against, due to alleged ties to North Korean weaponry programs. That means asking countries to "enforce the UN Security Council resolutions" and "to drastically reduce their interactions with Pyongyang".

"We'll continue to explore this and continue to, I think, push the organization to think about what kinds of suspension measures or requirements or stipulations might be included in the future", Thornton said.

Washington has dismissed a Chinese proposal created to pique Pyongyang's interest: a suspension of American military exercises with South Korea if the North freezes its weapons development.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung Wha expressed hope that she could meet Mr Ri.

Tillerson will keep hammering that message in his smaller ASEAN meetings, too.

But Mr Tillerson appeared more conciliatory on Monday.

A public version of this full-court press appeared in a July announcement that the United States would not, as had been expected, lift sanctions on Sudan.

According to a new US intelligence assessment reported by the Washington Post on Tuesday, North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, crossing a key threshold.

On Aug. 2, the USA added sanctions on people or groups that do business with North Korean banks; buy metals, minerals or textiles from the country; sell it fuel, crude oil or gas; and engage in online business with the government, including online gambling sites it runs. Despite tweeting last week that the USA was "done talking" about North Korea, Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley also emphasized in her speech Saturday that, "we want only security and prosperity for all nations-including North Korea". The committee, affiliated with the Workers' Party of North Korea, also accused the U.S. of forcing other countries to adopt the sanctions through fear, and dismissed the United Nations resolution as a terrorist act against Pyongyang.

North Korea test-launched two ICBMs last month as part of its efforts to possess a long-range missile capable of striking anywhere in the mainland U.S. Both missiles were fired at highly lofted angles, and analysts say the weapons could reach parts of the United States such as Alaska, Los Angeles or Chicago if fired at a normal, flattened trajectory.

President Trump received much higher marks for his handling of the economy with 46 percent saying he's doing a good job.

But officials are sounding upbeat about the broader pressure campaign.

"Sanction is necessary, but sanction is not the ultimate objective", Wang told reporters. North Korea has used U.S. military exercises in the region as means of galvanizing its people, claiming that the exercises are dress rehearsals for an impending invasion. "And these are countries all around the world", Nauert added. He later noted that he was deliberately not mentioning specific countries, although it was not clear why. "Its content itself is very important and it would have a substantive impact, and we talked a lot about the cooperation of China and Russian Federation during the process", Kang told reporters after the 35-minute session.

One tour operator targeting wealthier, more adventurous travellers said it was receiving more inquiries in recent weeks over whether it was safe to travel.

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