Tillerson Breaks With White House, Rejects Freeze Of Military Exercises Near North Korea

In a direct reversal with the recently disclosed official White House policy, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. rejects a 'freeze for freeze' approach that would pause joint U.S./South Korean military drills in exchange for a pause to North Korea's nuclear program.

Speaking in Vancouver at a meeting with foreign ministers, Tillerson said that "we reject a 'freeze for freeze' approach, in which legitimate defensive military exercises are placed on the same level as the DPRK’s unlawful actions. The pressure campaign will continue until North Korea takes decisive steps to de-nuclearize."

Tillerson also said that "we especially urge Russia and China” to enforce NK sanctions" and added that "if all countries cut off or significantly limit their economic and diplomatic engagements with North Korea, the sum total of our individual, national efforts will increase the chances of a negotiated resolution."

The Secretary of State also warned that North Korea could affect airline travel.

As a reminder, two weeks ago, in what seemed like a diplomatic victory for North Korea, President Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed not to hold springtime military exercises during the Olympics, the South Korean president’s office said, a move that was meant to cool tensions with North Korea, even if meant sidelining the US diplomatic pressure on North Korea as it suggested the Kim regime could be gaining the upper hand in negotiations.

As some pundits noted, by agreeing to suspend military exercises to ensure a smooth Olympics, the Trump administration got maneuvered into a freeze for freeze. But now Tillerson rejects that, which is grandstanding, or Tillerson is not even aware of what the White House's official policy vis-a-vis North Korea is at this moment.

As usual, look to Trump's twitter feed for some clarification on whether Trump has quietly reversed positions in the past 2 weeks, or whether Tillerson was simply confused.



crazzziecanuck Endgame Napoleon Tue, 01/16/2018 - 15:01 Permalink

If you're the North Koreans, do you just instantly think a new President won't come in and "regime change" them?  That would be irresponsible after what the US did in Iraq, Libya and their attempts in Syria, Somalia and Yemen.

Not only that, but I don't think North Koreans would actually think the American government would actually honour any deal they sign.  Because it never does.

In reply to by Endgame Napoleon

overbet Bes Tue, 01/16/2018 - 13:38 Permalink

Translation: We will accept nothing less than war.


On the brink of nuclear war, why wouldnt the S&P make all time highs everyday? Up is down anymore. I cant tell if this is the end of days or am I just turning into an old man because I am really starting to sound and think like my grandfather. 

In reply to by Bes

Brazen Heist Bes Tue, 01/16/2018 - 15:37 Permalink

US empire doesn't do tit-for-tats, that's just too much capitulation for the exceptional ones. Giving up war games for a relaxing of missile tests? No way, can't have that, its too much. 

No tit-for-tats for cowboys. They just do tits for the offense industry.

In reply to by Bes

The Ram soyungato Tue, 01/16/2018 - 13:42 Permalink

Not a good thing to happen before the winter Olympics.  You think the Trump Admin would be looking to sooth things over before the Olympics.  Oh well, maybe dear leader will bring a few surprises to the opening ceremonies.  But I digress.  Yes, no one is in charge at the WH.  Seems like things just run like the crap spewing from a twitter feed.......oh wait, that is how the Trump Admin communicates!

In reply to by soyungato

Faeriedust dirty fingernails Tue, 01/16/2018 - 19:37 Permalink

Right.  The question isn't whether NK is going to keep its nukes -- it is, and there is damned-all the U.S. can do about it without starting a war with China.  The question is, will the U.S. drag SK down the tubes for its pride, or allow its allies to settle a workable peace with their cousins up North?  Frankly, nobody wants the U.S. involved; even the U.S. would do better if they could extricate themselves from the situation without loss of face. And Asians are experts at creating credible face-saving gestures.  If the Americans could get down off their high horse and let the Koreans or Chinese provide one.

In reply to by dirty fingernails

Mike Masr Tue, 01/16/2018 - 13:40 Permalink

World War III is way off of schedule

The deep-state took Tillerson out behind the wood shed.

Now we must get war brewing ASAP as it's 2018 and we are WAY behind schedule to get thermonuclear World War III going. The deep state told Rex.


BGO Tue, 01/16/2018 - 13:42 Permalink

These old military dinosaurs are never truly happy unless there exists the prospect of starting new wars and/or killing new people.