Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has set out on a three-leg tour to Asia as the new top US diplomat amid tensions over North Korea’s missile launches and nuclear tests.
Tillerson started his six-day sweep on Wednesday in Japan and he will move on to South Korea, and later, end his tour in China. Analysts say the perceived threat from by North Korea, which is in part triggered by US military provocations and is driving the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia towards war, will be on top of the former oil executive’s agenda.
South Korea and Japan, which jointly host 77,000 US troops, are concerned about whether the Trump administration is committed to the countries’ alliance. North Korea, which is equipped with nuclear ballistic missiles, has warned Washington of retaliatory attacks if the US Navy violates its sovereignty during joint war games with South Korean forces.
Pyongyang has repeatedly slammed the annual war games as a rehearsal for invasion of the North and called on the US, Japan and South Korea to stop provocative military exercises. However, the US military has furthered its threats by deploying an advanced missile system to South Korea.—Agencies