Monday, 21 August, 2017

USA to exempt journalists, aid workers from NKorea travel ban

Erik Tate | 04 August, 2017, 00:33

Hyun Lee, managing editor of the Zoom In Korea news website, told Sputnik that the ban will have a "very detrimental impact" on US-North Korea relations, "especially Korean Americans who are separated from their family members in North Korea".

"We do not seek a regime change".

That's likely a non-starter for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un now, who looks at former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein - who did not have nuclear weapons - and Libya's Moammar Gaddafi - who gave up his nuclear ambitions for sanctions relief and aid, only to be toppled and killed after the USA intervened in the country's civil unrest - and see the ability to attack the United States with a nuclear weapon as the key to preventing any US-led attempts at regime change.

"We have seen significant steps taken by China to increase pressure on North Korea", said Thornton.

South East Asian diplomatic sources told AFP that Tillerson had lobbied United States allies to exclude North Korea from the ASEAN regional forum, which meets to discuss Asia-Pacific security issues alongside ASEAN talks.

At least 16 US citizens have been detained in North Korea in the past 10 years, the State Department says.

In apparent attempt to reach out to supreme leader Kim Jong-un yesterday, he said: "We're not your enemy".

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"Once in effect, USA passports will be invalid for travel to, through and in North Korea, and individuals will be required to obtain a passport with a special validation in order to travel to or within North Korea", State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement last month announcing the policy.

"The Secretary has authorized the restriction due to the serious and mounting risk of arrest and long-term detention of USA citizens under North Korea's system of law enforcement", the statement read.

But he emphasized that the danger posed by Pyongyang, which test fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July, was unacceptable as that forces Washington to respond.

Japan says North Korea also detained at least several dozen of its nationals, Reuters adds.

But here too, Tillerson was more diplomatic. But, she continued, "we think that they can do a lot more". What's been said before: Ambassador Nikki Haley, the USA representative to the United Nations, said the "time for talk is over" after the Friday missile test, though she was referring to the UN Security Council rather than direct talks involving the hermit state.

United States officials have steadily condemned North Korea's missile tests, which are a violation of worldwide law.

Republican foreign policy hawk Senator Lindsey Graham said Trump is ready to launch a devastating military strike if diplomacy fails to stop the nuclear missile threat.

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