Incredible photo of a North Korean soldier covertly photographing Rex Tillerson

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

Tillerson arrived in Tokyo on Wednesday for the first leg of the trip, which is occurring amid escalating tensions with North Korea.

Tillerson touched down by helicopter at Camp Bonifas, a USA base about 400 meters (438 yards) from the Demilitarized Zone, a Cold War vestige created after the Korean War ended in 1953. "They deny evidence of North Korea wrongdoing, they insist on loopholes, they insist on watering down what would otherwise be more effective resolutions" at the United Nations, Klingner said.

"I don't believe we have ever fully achieved the maximum level of action that can be taken under the United Nations security council resolution with full participation of all countries".

Now, however, military threats are beginning to feel like one of the few remaining options for dealing with North Korea, said Hahm Chai-bong, president of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul.

The DMZ, which is both a tourist trap and a potential flashpoint, is guarded on both sides with land mines, razor wire fence, tank traps and hundreds of thousands of combat-ready troops. "That is a misguided statement", said Wang Dong, associate professor of global studies at China's elite Peking University. He criticized China's opposition to a USA missile defense system being deployed in South Korea and accused it of waging "inappropriate and troubling" economic retaliation against the South.

In an rare interview with CNN Thursday, an official with China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Chinese hoped the U.S. would not move forward with the new penalties.

On the day of the test-firing, U.S. Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters: "There were four that landed".

Trump said on Friday that North Korea was "behaving very badly" and accused China of doing little to resolve the crisis over the North's weapons programs.

In Beijing, he may raise the prospect of imposing "secondary sanctions" on Chinese banks and other firms doing business with North Korea in defiance of sanctions, a US official told Reuters in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity. Risks of military action are high as North Korea could unleash a massive artillery barrage on Seoul in retaliation.

But none of these issues are as fraught or potentially risky as the situation with Pyongyang, which seems to have accelerated its nuclear program in the last few months with the aim of perfecting a nuclear weapon and the means to deliver it as far as the US.

"The State Department says that an important part of Tillerson's agenda here will be to push Beijing to push North Korea to abandon its nuclear and missile programs".

The Trump administration has already dipped a toe into sanctioning Chinese companies and by doing so is looking to expand a policy that the Obama administration began a year ago. Pyongyang views the drills as a rehearsal for invasion. He said the drills aimed at using atomic weapons for a pre-emptive strike against North Korea.

More broadly, Tillerson poured cold water on the idea of resuming negotiations with Pyongyang, saying, "20 years of talks with North Korea have brought us to where we are today". More than a million mines are believed to be buried inside the DMZ.

Xi's government is publicly more concerned about Washington's decision to deploy the THAAD missile defense program in South Korea.

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