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Tillerson, Mattis say 'no' to regime change on North Korea

Aug. 14 (UPI) — Top U.S. officials confirmed their united front on North Korea: denuclearization through a new policy of “strategic accountability,” and not regime change, is what they seek from Pyongyang in a time of heightened tensions.

In a jointly written opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis stated the United States does not seek to “inflict harm” on the “long-suffering North Korean people.”

“We are replacing the failed policy of ‘strategic patience’…with a new policy of strategic accountability,” the two officials wrote.

Tillerson and Mattis called for a “peaceful pressure campaign” that would be conducted with the aim of denuclearization, and without toppling the regime.

But the two U.S. secretaries also described the regime in Pyongyang as “hostile.”

Tillerson and Mattis furthermore pointed out China could play an important role in persuading Pyongyang to reconsider its options.

“The region and world need and expect China to do more,” they wrote in the editorial that also included a message for North Korea.

“Take a new path toward peace, prosperity and international acceptance, or continue further down the dead alley of belligerence, poverty and isolation,” they said. “The [United States] will aspire and work for the former, and will remain vigilant against the latter.”

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