While the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and other US vessels are steaming north from the Philippine Sea toward the Korean Peninsula, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Sunday that the Trump administration and China have agreed that “action has to be taken” with regard to the threat emanating from North Korea.
In an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation that was broadcast on Sunday, Tillerson said that President Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping “had extensive discussions around the dangerous situation in North Korea” during their summit meeting in Florida. “President Xi clearly understands, and I think agrees, that the situation has intensified and has reached a certain level of threat that action has to be taken,” Tillerson said.
Tillerson said that there is a “shared view and no disagreement as to how dangerous the situation has become.” Because of North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, Tillerson said that the Chinese “do not believe the conditions are right today to engage in discussions with the government in Pyongyang [North Korea’s capital].”
“We’re hopeful,” he added, “that we can work together with the Chinese to change the conditions in the minds of the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] leadership. And then, at that point, perhaps discussions may be useful.
“But I think there’s a shared view and no disagreement as to how dangerous the situation has become. And I think even China is beginning to recognise that this presents a threat to even to China’s interests as well.”
“US Pacific Command ordered the Carl Vinson strike group north as a prudent measure to maintain readiness and presence in the western Pacific,” said Commander Dave Benham, spokesman at US Pacific Command. “The No 1 threat in the region continues to be North Korea, due to its reckless, irresponsible and destabilising programme of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability,” he said. Elsewhere on Sunday, national security adviser HR McMaster told Fox News Sunday that the Vinson the strike group had been moved because “it is prudent to do it.”