Richard Drew / AP
Rex Tillerson started the UN Security Council meeting on North Korea today with a strong statement: "normal relations with the DPRK are simply not acceptable." He urged other council members to swiftly enact new strategies to handle North Korea's nuclear threats, threatening sanctions on countries that support their activities.
I urge this council to act before North Korea does.Rex Tillerson
The deal: North Korea has to dismantle its nuclear weapons and programs before the U.S. can even consider talks.
On regime change: "Our goal is not regime change…The U.S. believes in a future for North Korea."
Other nations can "downgrade diplomatic relations with North Korea" since the North exploits its diplomatic relations to fund its nuclear activity.
On China's unique leverage: Tillerson called on the international community to suspend the flow of North Korean guest workers to their countries and implement bans on imports, like coal. "China, accounting for 90% of trade, has economic leverage over Pyongyang that is unique…and particularly important."
Tillerson called for new sanctions to be implemented on North Korea and to tighten those already in place.
China's response: As China's Foreign Minister put it: "rock firm." But... "we also demand the U.S. and the ROK refrain from conducting or even expanding military exercises against the DPRK."
Tillerson's big question: Why does North Korea cling "to nuclear capabilities for which is has no need?"