Tillerson Beginning Three-Nation Tour in Japan
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson begins a three-nation trip Wednesday in Japan as he seeks to reassure allies and discuss ways to counter nuclear and missile threats from North Korea.
His schedule includes meetings Thursday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.
He goes Friday to South Korea for talks with acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn and Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, but is not scheduled to meet with any opposition figures in the country that is holding elections for a new leader in May.
Japan and South Korea, which host U.S. troops and are already within range of North Korean missiles, support U.S. efforts to increase diplomatic and economic pressure on Pyongyang. A statement by the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet said the three allies were conducting drills Wednesday in seas east of the divided Korean Peninsula and north of Japan to promote interoperability.
The final leg of Tillerson's trip is in China where his chief objective is meeting with President Xi Jinping to lay the groundwork for a summit between Xi and U.S. President Donald Trump, which is expected to take place in early April in Florida.
Malaysia: DNA Confirms Identity of Slain Kim Jong Nam
A Malaysian official says authorities have used DNA to confirm the identity of Kim Jon Nam, the murdered half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Wednesday the test was done using a sample obtained from one of Kim Jong Nam's children.
Kim was attacked February 13 at an airport in Kuala Lumpur. Two women smeared what Malaysian authorities say was VX nerve agent on his face. He died 20 minutes later.
North Korea has rejected the autopsy, and so far has not stated that the man killed was Kim Jong Nam.
Authorities in Malaysia have charged 25-year-old Indonesian Siti Aisyah and 28-year-old Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong with murder for allegedly being the women seen in security camera video carrying out the attack.
Malaysia has blamed North Korea for organizing the killing and is seeking additional suspects in the case.
Kim Jong Nam was estranged from Kim Jong Un. He reportedly fell out of favor with their father, the late Kim Jong Il, in 2001, when he was caught trying to enter Japan on a false passport to visit the Disneyland theme park in Tokyo.