Two decades of efforts to disarm North Korea 'have failed': Tillerson

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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit Turkey on March 30, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said late Thursday, with meetings of the countries presidents also in the pipeline.

"The diplomatic and other efforts of the past 20 years to bring North Korea to a point of de-nuclearization have failed".

The Secretary said a new approach is needed, given that the threat from North Korea is escalating.

Tillerson's visit came at a time when the crisis on the Korean Peninsula was aggravated by the recent test firing of missiles by the DPRK, so far the most substantial reaction to the Seoul-Washington military exercises, and the controversial USA deployment of the THAAD anti-missile systems in South Korea.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (C) arrives in Tokyo on March 15, 2017. Abe said Tillerson's visit to Japan was "timely", when North Korea is continuing provocations and tension is mounting in the region.

"So we have 20 years of failed approach", Mr Tillerson said after a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo.

"I take the challenge that the president has given us on willingly", he said.

Tillerson said he thought overseas conflicts that the US has been involved in would diminish, easing the demands on State.

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Tillerson said he would conduct a "comprehensive examination" of how the State Department's programs are run and how the department is structured.

The United Nations and human rights groups said it would be a mistake for the U.S.to leave the council. It really is a reflection of the significance you, Secretary Tillerson, put on the Japan-U.S. alliance and I very much appreciate it.

The State Department Correspondents Association said it was "disappointed" by the change in procedure.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck told a regular press briefing on Thursday that the meeting of the two top diplomats is "timely" and "meaningful" for both to reaffirm their "ironclad" alliance and explore a coordinated approach to deal with the North. Because Tillerson chose to take a smaller plane to Asia, there were space constraints and cost savings, he said.

The two sides are also expected to discuss the nuclear and missile programs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), as well as bilateral trade and security issues.

Staunch US ally South Korea, which Mr Tillerson visits on Friday, is rudderless following the impeachment of former president Park Geun-hye, who had been embroiled in a political scandal. Experts say it could have a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the US within a few years.

Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman, said USA aid to Israel, which totaled about $3.1 billion this year, would not be touched under the Trump plan.

Trump's budget also proposes elimination of the United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) Complex Crises Fund.

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