Tillerson: No Predictions on How Long North Korean Sanctions Will Take

By Melanie Arter | November 9, 2017 | 2:51 PM EST

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (Screenshot of C-SPAN video)

(CNSNews.com) – Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday said Chinese President Xi Jinping is “unequivocal” in his statement that China will not accept a nuclear-armed, nuclear-weaponized North Korea and that “no one is making predictions” about how long sanctions will take.

“I don't want to speak for President Xi or the Chinese government as to how they view the statement they've made to us now that they will not accept a nuclear-armed, nuclear-weaponized North Korea.  I'll let them speak for themselves, but they're unequivocal in that statement,” Tillerson said said in a press briefing in Beijing, China. “And so that puts us both on the same objective, policy-wise, to achieve that denuclearization.”

Tillerson was asked whether China agrees with President Donald Trump that the era of strategic patience is over and they’ve reached a new determination about the North Korean threat that they didn’t have before Trump took office.

“And when President Xi said sanctions will take a little while, did he give any clarity on what that length of time is?  And is the president comfortable waiting however long President Xi thinks sanctions will take?” the reporter added.

“I think in terms of how long will it take, no one is making any predictions. I think there's just a recognition that it's taken us about the last four to five months, really, is when we finally got all of these sanctions provisions passed by the U.N. It takes a while for countries to then comply, and so I think -- and I have the expectation we're going to have to wait and let this take its effect,” the secretary said.

Already there are some signs that the sanctions are stressing the North Korean economy, Tillerson said.

“There are clear signs, and the Chinese side has shared with us some of the signs they're seeing. We see certain signs of our own through intel and other sources we have that it is creating some stress within North Korea's economy and with some of their citizens, potentially even within some of their military,” he said.

“So it is something, though, that sanctions themselves always require some time for inventories to be used up, for alternatives to be closed off. And a lot of the sanctions compliance is us identifying places where they're re-shifting to try to maintain certain economic activity, but we try to close that off them,” Tillerson added.

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