Monday, 21 August, 2017

Tillerson to visit DMZ as part of S. Korean tour

Is Tillerson to Blame for Foggy Bottom's Funk, or Is It Deeper Institutional Issues? The Invisible Secretary
Elaine Woods | 17 March, 2017, 01:31

Two decades of efforts to halt North Korea's nuclear ambitions have "failed", United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, as he hinted at a more hawkish "new approach" to ramp up the pressure.

Tillerson pointed out that two decades of diplomatic and other efforts made by the U.S. to bring North Korea to a point of denuclearisation have failed.

"The level of spending that the State Department has been undertaking, particularly in the past year, is simply not sustainable", Tillerson said, explaining that current spending reflected the "level of conflicts that the US has been engaged in around the world as well as disaster assistance".

"It is critical in particular as we address North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missiles programs", he added.

"We don't take this opportunity lightly and recognize the controversy surrounding press access for the trip", IJR founder and chief executive Alex Skatell said in a statement. It's a far cry from the splash Hillary Clinton made in February 2009 on her first trip overseas as secretary of state, following a similar itinerary through Asia.

But Tillerson also said that the State Department "is coming off a historically high allocation of resources", something he said it must "recognise".

Japan and South Korea both host tens of thousands of USA troops.

Israel would be the only country to escape the Trump administration's proposed deep cuts in foreign aid, the State Department said Thursday.

Two Russian spies among four charged in United States over Yahoo hack
The government "will vigorously investigate and prosecute the people behind such attacks to the fullest extent of the law". They hired Alexsey Belan and Karim Baratov, described as "criminal hackers ", to carry out the attacks.

At Least One Injured in Canada's Syncrude Oil Plant Blaze
Nearby Fort McKay First Nation urged residents to remain indoors and keep their windows and doors closed due to prevailing winds. A fire at Syncrude Canada's Mildred Lake facility was caused by a line failure that allowed a liquid hydrocarbon to leak.

Adrian Gonzalez Says He'll Never Play in World Baseball Classic Again
Although Colombia put the Dominicans on the edge of their seats, they rallied under the extra-inning rules to win 10-3. Ricky Nolasco went four innings in the start for the Angels, giving up four hits and allowing three earned runs.

Thomas Karako, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that after so many years of failed diplomacy, it's inevitable the US would consider more aggressive steps like military action. He'll talk with leaders about the North Korean nuclear threat and bilateral trade deals.

One proposal calls for the U.S.to conduct limited airstrikes against military facilities if Pyongyang announces a test of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the continental U.S. The regime change idea may resemble past actions like the 2003 invasion of Iraq that toppled Saddam Hussein.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stressed on Thursday the importance of the US working with Japan to counter perceived threats from North Korea.

Kishida said he had conveyed Japan's views to Tillerson for consideration during the policy review, but he didn't go into details.

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.

Pak Myong Ho, a minister at North Korea's embassy in Beijing, said the February 13 murder of Kim Jong Nam in Malaysia was a "despicable and extremely dangerous" plot by the US and South Korea aimed at smearing North Korea's image and subverting its regime.

The eight organizations, which focus on human rights and support for the United Nations, wrote to Tillerson asking the United States to maintain its engagement with the rights council.

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