U.S. Says Military Strike Is Among Its North Korea Options Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says talks with North Korea haven’t worked By Jonathan Cheng


SEOUL—President Donald Trump and his top diplomat hardened the U.S. approach to North Korea, ruling out direct talks and raising the option of a pre-emptive strike in statements that set the stage for a potential clash with Chinese leaders this weekend.

The first-strike threat and the U.S. deployment this month of the beginnings of a missile-defense system in South Korea represent a shift in balance that is expected to provoke Beijing, which is North Korea’s top ally.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in Seoul on Friday, slammed Beijing for its opposition to the defense system, which is aimed at protecting South Korea against missile threats from the North.

Mr. Trump chimed in hours later, saying Beijing hasn’t done enough to address the threat from Pyongyang, which is closing in on the ability to mount a nuclear warhead on a long-range ballistic missile.

“North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been ‘playing’ the United States for years. China has done little to help!” Mr. Trump tweeted.

Mr. Tillerson was expected to arrive in Beijing on Saturday for meetings over the weekend with Chinese President Xi Jinping as well as China’s foreign minister.

A spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry on Friday pointed to China’s efforts to promote dialogue between Pyongyang, Washington and Seoul, and declined to comment on the secretary of state’s remarks ahead of his arrival.

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