U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned on Friday that failure to curb North Korea’s nuclear and missile development could lead to ‘catastrophic consequences, while China and Russia cautioned Washington against threatening military force. Washington has recently lavished praise on Beijing for its efforts to rein in its ally Pyongyang, but Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made clear to the U.N. Security Council it was not only up to China to solve the North Korean problem. “The key to solving the nuclear issue on the peninsula does not lie in the hands of the Chinese side”, Wang told the 15-member council in remarks contradicting the White House belief that it does wield significant influence.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the US is changing course on Syria, and that the removal of Syrian President Bashar Assad is no longer a priority. Haley said she wants to work with countries such as Turkey and Russia to find a long-term political solution in Syria, rather than keep the focus on the Syrian president’s future. Just prior to Haley’s comments, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held a joint press conference in Turkey with his counterpart there, Mevlut Cavusoglu, and signaled the change in direction for US diplomacy. Tillerson said “Assad’s long-term presence must be decided by the Syrian people”.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will pay a visit to Turkey on March 30 to discuss the case of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating the failed 2016 coup, and the U.S.-led offensive to retake Raqqa from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The secretary of state also plans to discuss an “interim zone of stability” in Syria based on cease-fires. Tillerson will discuss “interim de-escalation zones based on cease-fires or other means” with Turkey, a State Department official said March 27. The deal there is that Turkey has an agreement, a commitment to deliver elements of the opposition, and critically, Russia has a commitment to deliver the regime to make sure that these cease-fires hold”, the official said