NOT BACKING DOWN: KIM JUNG-UN WARNS PREEMPTIVE NUCLEAR STRIKE COULD COME ‘AT ANY TIME’ DESPITE TRUMP’S OFFER TO ‘TALK’

PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA — North Korean leader Kim Jong-un announced on Monday that a nuclear launch could come “at any time and at any location” in response to what it called acts of aggression by the United States.

The rogue leader’s comment comes on the same day that U.S. president Donald Trump said he would be willing to sit down with Jong-un to discuss their countries’ differences if the “circumstances were right” (https://rebekahworsham.org/2017/05/01/peace-talks-trump-says-he-would-absolutely-meet-with-north-korean-leader-kim-jung-un-as-world-braces-for-war/).

Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have been at an all time high for the past several weeks, since the communist country claimed that it has developed nuclear weapons that have the capacity to reach the U.S. mainland.

A spokesman for Jung-un’s military said Pyongyang was “fully ready to respond to any option taken by the US” and that it will “continue bolstering its preemptive nuclear attack” capabilities until Washington refrained from its “hostile policies”.

“The DPRK’s measures for bolstering the nuclear force to the maximum will be taken in a consecutive and successive way at any moment and any place decided by its supreme leadership,” a statement from the state-run KCNA news agency read.

Last week, both Washington, D.C. and Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital city, carried out joint exercises to prepare for the impact of nuclear war. Further, in a nearly unprecedented event, all members of the U.S. Senate were called to the White House to be briefed on the escalating conflict.

The U.S. emergency drills have ended, but naval exercises are continuing in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) with a US strike group led by the aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson.

During the past week, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called upon the UN Security Council to do more to stop North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and warned of “catastrophic consequences” if the world does not act.

Asked during a Reuters interview on Saturday if a North Korea nuclear test would prompt U.S. military action, Trump replied: “You’ll soon find out.”

kimjongun

PEACE TALKS? TRUMP SAYS HE WOULD ‘ABSOLUTELY’ MEET WITH NORTH KOREAN LEADER KIM JUNG-UN AS WORLD BRACES FOR WAR

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As the world holds its breath anticipating North Korea’s next move, American president Donald Trump said on Monday that he would “absolutely” be willing to meet with Kim Jung-un.

“If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it,” Trump told Bloomberg News (https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-05-01/trump-says-he-d-meet-with-north-korea-s-kim-if-situation-s-right), adding: “If it’s under the, again, under the right circumstances. But I would do that.”

Trump’s comments come after a tense last several weeks during which the rogue state fired multiple test missiles and all 100 members of the U.S. Senate were called to the White House to discuss the ongoing nuclear threat.

During an interview on Sunday with the Washington Examiner (http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/trump-you-make-a-mistake-here-there-is-nothing-to-work-out/article/2621572) president Trump said tensions with the communist country remain a top priority in regard to national security.

“We have to be prepared for the worst,” said the president. “We have to be prepared to do what we have to do. We cannot allow this to go on.”

Jong-un, who has had members of his own family executed for speaking out against him — has not met with a foreign leader since taking charge after his father’s death in 2011.

“Most political people would never say that,” Trump told Bloomberg. “I would meet with him. We have breaking news.”

Meanwhile, Australia is the latest U.S. ally to come to America’s side in an effort to shut down North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

“Today Australia and the United States continue to work with our allies to address new security threats around the world,” Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull said on Monday. “Together, we’re taking a strong message to North Korea that we will not tolerate reckless, dangerous threats to the peace and stability of our region.”

Turnbull is scheduled to meet with president Trump in New York later this week, where sources say North Korea will be a central topic of discussion.

North Korea has so far executed five nuclear tests and a series of missile launches, in direct defiance of UN Security Council and unilateral resolutions. In January, Jong-un said his nation had entered the final stage of preparation for a test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile that would have the capability of reaching the intercontinental US.

In response, Trump tweeted at the time: “It won’t happen!”

trumpwillmeet

NORTH KOREA NUCLEAR THREAT ‘PRIORITY ONE’ AS SENATE IS BRIEFED ON ESCALATING TENSIONS

WASHINGTON, D.C. — One hundred Senators were called to the White House on Wednesday during a nearly unprecedented event to be briefed on rising tensions between the United States and North Korea.

According to a report published by Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-nuclear-usa-senate-idUSKBN17Q1LR), the briefing, which began at 3:00 pm EST, was originally scheduled to take place in the Capitol building but was moved to the White House at the request of President Trump.

The Senators are reportedly being briefed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who will chair the meeting, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis on the latest developments in North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and the threats that it’s leader, Kim Jung-un, has made against the United States. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats will also participate in the briefing.

The meeting comes on the same day that local governments throughout the Washington, D.C. area are participating in “full-scale” terror attack drills in response to the developing conflict. The drills are being carried out in multiple locations throughout the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia and Maryland suburbs at the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R)-South Carolina, discussed the North Korea briefing during a dinner Monday evening at the White House with President Trump, and told reporters on Tuesday that his fellow colleagues will be advised on Trump’s plan to respond to North Korea’s recent acts of aggression.

“It’s clear to me that this president will not allow North Korea to develop an [intercontinental ballistic missile] with a nuclear weapon on top to hit America,” said Graham. “And I think the senators are gonna hear that tomorrow night.”

Sen. Ben Cardin, (D)-Md., the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Reuters that he hopes that North Korea’s recent hostilities can be countered without military action.

“It’s (the location of the meeting) their choice,” he said of Trump’s meeting request. “I hope that we hear their policy as to what their objectives are, and how we can accomplish that hopefully without dropping bombs.”

mattisnorthkorea

PREPARING FOR THE WORST: D.C. PLANS ‘FULL SCALE’ ATTACK DRILL AS WAR WITH NORTH KOREA LOOMS

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Washington leaders have ordered a “full-scale” terror attack drill set for the nation’s capitol on Wednesday in light of mounting tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, federal officials have confirmed.

In a press release on Tuesday, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments stated (https://www.mwcog.org/newsroom/2017/04/24/full-scale-exercise-focused-on-preparing-for-complex-terror-attacks-to-include-national-capital-region-first-responders-emergency-managers/) that law enforcement officers and first responders have been ordered to participate in an exercise “designed to prepare for the possibility of a complex coordinated terror attack in the National Capital Region.”

Scott Boggs, managing director of Homeland Security and Public Safety at COG said the drill will include hundreds of police and first responders in addition to dozens of actors.

“Law enforcement officials practice and exercise their skills on their own regularly because that’s the best way to ensure we are always ready to respond quickly and professionally,” Boggs said in a statement. “On April 26, we’ll go one step further and stage a very realistic emergency event involving multiple sites and actors posing as the casualties. However, there is no reason for residents to be alarmed because the exercise will occur in a controlled environment.”

The drill will be held across six sites in D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland.

The drill is being held on the same day the president has asked all members of Senate to attend an emergency meeting at the White House where they will be briefed on the escalating conflict with North Korea.

After a meeting with the president, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters that even if North Korea has developed the technology for a preemptive nuclear strike, Trump will not allow that to happen.

“If I were North Korea, I would not underestimate President Trump’s resolve to stop them from getting a missile to hit our homeland,” he said.

Tensions between the United States and the rogue state have risen sharply in recent weeks as a series of North Korean missile tests have prompted dire warnings from President to watch who they provoke, adding that “all options are on the table” – including military strikes – to curb the North Korean leader Kim Jung un’s nuclear ambitions.

In a show of force, president Trump ordered a fleet of U.S. war ships with nuclear capability to stand by at the Korean border. The latest vessel, the USS Carl Vinson, is scheduled to arrive in the Sea of Japan within days, American Vice President Mike Pence said on Saturday.

But as of Tuesday, the communist leader remains defiant.

“Now that we possess mighty nuclear power to protect ourselves from US nuclear threat, we will respond without the slightest hesitation to full-out war with full-out war and to nuclear war with our style of nuclear strike, and we will emerge victor in the final battle with the United States,” the North’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said on Saturday in a commentary that North Korea would not hesitate to launch “full out war” against the U.S., if provoked (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/04/north-korea-mad-170422145639890.html).

“The US has now gone seriously mad. It is mulling frightening the DPRK and achieving something with nuclear strategic bombers, nuclear carriers, etc,” Rodong Sinmun said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic Republic of Korea.

“However, the army and people of the DPRK will never be browbeaten by such bluffing. Under the situation where the US hurts the DPRK by force of arms, we have nothing to be bound to. The DPRK will answer to such war moves and provocations with pre-emptive strike of its own style and a great war of justice for national reunification.”

nuclearthreat

PREPPING FOR WAR: NORTH KOREA HOLDS ‘LIVE FIRE’ DRILLS AS U.S. BATTLE SHIP DRAWS NEAR

PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA — North Korea on Tuesday conducted a mass live-fire drill that reportedly involved up to 400 artillery pieces under the supervision of leader, Kim Jong Un. The drill is just the latest indication that the rogue state is preparing to launch a preemptive strike against the U.S., say military experts.

The drill comes on the heels of the approach of a nuclear-powered American submarine that is currently barreling toward the region.

As reported on Monday, the entire U.S. Senate has been called to the White House for an emergency briefing of the conflict (https://rebekahworsham.org/2017/04/24/brink-of-war-entire-senate-called-to-white-house-for-briefing-on-north-korea-as-rogue-state-warns-of-preemptive-strike/).

According to White House press secretary Sean Spicer, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats are have cleared their schedule in order to update members of the Senate on the latest developments.

Meanwhile, China president Xi Jinping has warned Kim Jong Un that should war break out between the United States and North Korea, it will be Korea that suffers most.

In an editorial piece for the Global Times, a publication that is widely regarded as the official news source of the Communist Party, Chinese government officials wrote: “The game of chicken between Washington and Pyongyang has come to a breaking point.”

The warning continued that “it is more likely than ever that the situation will cross the point of no return” and that “all stakeholders will bear the consequences, with Pyongyang sure to suffer the greatest losses.”

Lu Kang, spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, urged Kim Jung un to find a peaceful solution to the conflict before “it is too late”.

“The current situation on the Korean Peninsula is complicated and sensitive and the tension is high,” said Kang.“We urge all sides concerned to keep restrained and calm and refrain from taking actions that could escalate tensions.”

The aid of the Chinese government comes just weeks after president Donald Trump met with Xi Jinping and essentially told him that destruction of the United States was not in China’s best interests. “If we go down, our debt to you and the trillions that you make from us in foreign trade goes down with us,” Trump reportedly told Jinping.

Despite warnings from their Chinese neighbors, North Korea has seemingly remained defiant.

“There is no limit to the strike power of the People’s Army armed with our style of cutting-edge military equipment including various precision and miniaturised nuclear weapons and submarine-launched ballistic missiles,” a government spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday to a Pyongyang-based newspaper (https://www.rte.ie/news/2017/0425/870024-donald-trump-wants-tougher-new-sanctions-on-north-korea/).

Trump on Tuesday said that “one way or another” North Korea’s nuclear weapons program must be stopped.

“North Korea is a big world problem,” said the president, “and it’s a problem we have to finally solve.”

warwithkorea

BRINK OF WAR: ENTIRE SENATE CALLED TO WHITE HOUSE FOR BRIEFING ON NORTH KOREA AS ROGUE STATE WARNS OF ‘PREEMPTIVE STRIKE’

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump has asked the entire U.S. Senate to the White House on Wednesday for a briefing on the escalating situation in North Korea.

During his daily press briefing on Monday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed the upcoming meeting, during which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats plan to fill the lawmakers in on the developing conflict.

The decision to call the nearly unprecedented briefing came after Trump’s conversation by phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

On Monday, North Korean state media warned the United States of a “super-mighty preemptive strike” after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States would do whatever it takes to stop the communist country’s quickly expanding nuclear program.

“In the case of our super-mighty preemptive strike being launched, it will completely and immediately wipe out not only US imperialists’ invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas but the US mainland and reduce them to ashes,” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un warned.

Meanwhile, the rogue leader has taken another American citizen into custody, bringing the number of U.S. citizens imprisoned by the regime to three.

Tony Kim, a 58-year-old Korean-American professor, was detained at Pyongyang International Airport after teaching accounting at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology and working on aid and relief programs to North Korea for the past month.

Kim was reportedly taken into custody in North Korea on Saturday as he was trying to leave with his wife on a flight to China.

21-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student Otto Warmbier was also detained on January 2, 2016, at Pyongyang International Airport, while visiting the country as a tourist with Young Pioneer Tour.

During a one hour trial, Warmbier was charged with stealing a political sign from a staff-only floor in the Yanggakdo International Hotel in Pyongyang and committing “crimes against the state.”

The Ohio native was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

During an appearance on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlton Show” this month, Warbmier’s parents have reached out to president Trump for aid in bringing their son home.

“President Trump, I ask you: Bring my son home. You can make a difference here,” Fred Warmbier, the young man’s father pleaded.

Korean-American businessman Kim Dong Chul is also being held in a North Korean prison after arrested in October 2015 while in the city of Rason.

Kim had been detained on suspicion of engaging in spying and stealing state secrets. Kim was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor after North Korea’s Supreme Court found him guilty of espionage and subversion under Articles 60 and 64 of the North’s criminal code.

While U.S. government officials have demanded the release of the prisoners, North Korean officials say they are not willing to negotiate amid the current tensions between their country and the United States.

TRUMP ORDERS ADDITIONAL AIRCRAFT CARRIERS SENT TO KOREAN PENINSULA AS KIM JUNG-UN REMAINS DEFIANT

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump on Monday ordered two additional aircraft carriers deployed to the Korean peninsula as tensions between the U.S. and North Korea continue to mount.

South Korea’s primary news outlet, Yonhap, reports that in addition to the already deployed U.S.S. Carl Vinson, which is expected to arrive off the South Korean coast on April 25, the CVN. Ronald Reagan and the CVN-68 Nimitz will enter the Sea of Japan next week.

A source close to the Trump administration says the move is meant to show North Korean leader Kim Jung-Un, who attempted a missile launch early Sunday local time that failed “almost immediately”, that America’s new leader does not draw imaginary red lines in the sand.

“We expect it to be completely different from the previous administration,” said the source.

Trump, who was briefed on the launch while visiting his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, this weekend, has said that his administration has no qualms about using military action against the rogue leader, if necessary.

“The president and his military team are aware of North Korea’s most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The president has no further comment,” Secretary of Defense James Mattis said in a statement Saturday night.

Shin In-kyun, President of Korea Defense Network, a civic group specializing in military affairs, said that submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) that was likely launched by the North Koreans, told NBC News (http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/north-korean-missile-launch-fails-almost-immediately-u-s-military-n747006) that although this most recent test launch was a failure, the idea that Jung-un has developed this type of capability to begin with should be a matter of grave concern.

“SLBMs are more threatening than any other type of missile of the same range because it can evade radar detection, including the THAAD,” Shin said of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system provided to South Korea by the U.S. “If North Korea [can] complete building 3,000-ton submarine, they can then attack Guam, Hawaii and even Alaska with an SLBM.”

Vice President Mike Pence, in a rare trip to South Korea, put North Korea on notice saying that recent US military strikes in Syria and Afghanistan showed that Trump’s patience should not be tested.

“Just in the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan,” Pence said in a joint press conference with South Korean acting president Hwang Kyo-ahn on Sunday.
“North Korea would do well not to test his resolve or the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region.”

trumpnorthkorea.png

‘PREPARE’: KIM JONG-UN ORDERS ‘IMMEDIATE EVACUATION’ OF CAPITAL CITY AS NORTH KOREA WARNS U.S OF ‘BIG EVENT’

PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA — North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has ordered the immediate evacuation of the country’s capital Pyongyang, sparking further speculation that he may be preparing for war.

Further, the communist leader has warned foreign journalists to be prepared for a “big event” on North Korea’s biggest national celebration, the ‘Day of the Sun’, to be held on Saturday.

A Russian newspaper, Pravda Report, is reporting that more than 600,000 people – around one quarter of the city’s population – are being urgently evacuated, as tensions between North Korea and the United States reach a fever pitch (http://www.pravdareport.com/hotspots/conflicts/12-04-2017/137480-pyongyang_evacuation-0/).

North Korean monitoring service 38 North said Wednesday that the country’s Punggye-ri nuclear site is “primed and ready” for a sixth nuclear test.

The announcement comes as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday that North Korea has likely developed the capability to deliver missiles equipped with sarin nerve gas.

Jong-un has openly stated that his military’s “nuclear sight” is focused on both American-allied military bases in the region, and on “the U.S. mainland.”

In response, U.S. officials attempted to stare down the rogue leader’s threat, saying they believe Jong-un’s comments to be all talk.

“I think there is no evidence that North Korea has that capability at this time,” press secretary Sean Spicer said on Tuesday. “Threatening something that you don’t have the capability of isn’t really a threat.”

Spicer followed up his comments with the assertion that president Trump had put North Korea on notice that the United States military will not cease to act at the first sign of aggression toward U.S. interests.

Earlier this week it was announced that president Trump, in response to North Korea’s tough talk, had ordered a warship deployed to the Korean peninsula in a show of force.

“We are sending an armada. Very powerful,” Trump told Fox Business Network. “We have submarines. Very powerful. Far more powerful than the aircraft carrier. That I can tell you.”

Referring to Jong-un’s recent threats against the U.S., Trump said: “He is doing the wrong thing” Asked if he thought Kim was mentally ill, Trump replied: “I don’t know. I don’t know him.”

In yet another disturbing development, an expert on foreign relations, Professor Rudiger Frank, has warned that China and Russia may be joining forces in an effort to take down the United States.

Franks’s comments come after a week of escalating tensions between the United States and Russia over Russia’s support of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, who U.S. intelligence officials say ordered a deadly gas strike upon his own people in northern Syria.

“The Americans have been able to drive a wedge between the then Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China since the 1970s,” Frank told the U.K.’s Express (http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/791638/north-korea-russia-china-united-states-nuclear-war-kim-jong-un-putin-donald-trump). “But now the US is facing both countries relatively aggressively. Russia and China have a common opponent who unites them.”

ww3

ART OF THE DEAL: TRUMP’S TOUGH TALK WORKS ON CHINA WHO NOW VOWS TO BACK U.S. IN KOREAN WAR OF WORDS

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a 180 degree turn, China announced on Wednesday that it is now willing to work with Washington on ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

The announcement comes less than one week after Trump entertained Chinese president Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. China, one of North Korea’s biggest allies, had initially played coy as to who’s side they would take in the growing military tensions between the U.S. and communist nation.

That all seemed to have changed, according to sources, when Trump, a billionaire business man, put an ultimatum to China in economic terms.

“Had a very good call last night with the President of China concerning the menace of North Korea,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!”

The tweet was accompanied by a second tweet where Trump suggested that the United States was willing to play rough if Jinping chose to back the wrong side.

“North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.,” he wrote.

Sources very close to the president say Trump gave Jinping a simple and direct choice: If we go down, so do you.

North Korea has ramped up threats of a nuclear attack in the past several months and Trump advised the Chinese president that should the U.S. be the target of a nuclear attack, China would have a very difficult time collecting upon the $1.24 trillion owed in U.S. debt. Further, considering the fact that the U.S. is one of the biggest importers of Chinese products, their own economy would suffer greatly by their choice to do nothing.

Trump has repeatedly called on China to put pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program as, being North Korea’s biggest economic partner and source of food and fuel, they hold a lot of weight when it comes to negotiations.

“China insists on realizing the denuclearization of the peninsula … and is willing to maintain communication and coordination with the American side over the issue on the peninsula,” Jinping told the state media.

The Chinese leader followed the statement with a terse warning to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

“Not only [is] Washington brimming with confidence and arrogance following the missile attacks on Syria, but Trump is also willing to be regarded as a man who honors his promises,” Jinping told the People’s Daily, the ruling Communist Party’s official paper, adding that North Korea should halt any plans for nuclear and missile tests “for its own security.”

Undeterred, Pyongyang said Monday it would “hold the U.S. wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences” should there be any military action taken by the USS Carl Vinson in the area of the Korean Peninsula.

TRUMPCHINA

PUTIN CAVES: RUSSIAN LEADER MEETS WITH TILLERSON IN ‘TENSE’ EXCHANGE DESPITE EARLIER REFUSAL

MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Russian president Vladimir Putin met with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson today in an apparent about face.

Putin, who had earlier in the week refused to meet with Tillerson amid tensions over the American strike on Syria, spoke with Tillerson in Moscow for nearly two hours, a U.S. Embassy spokesperson has confirmed.

The meeting comes after harsh words by president Trump toward Russia, who he claims assisted Syria in a deadly chemical strike on Syrian civilians that killed dozens of people.

“If Russia didn’t go in and back this animal (Syrian president Bashar al-Assad), you wouldn’t have a problem right now,” said Trump.

Sources with close knowledge of the meeting said that Tillerson pushed Putin to cooperate with the United States in helping to bring Syria under control. Despite a long standing friendship between Tillerson and Putin, the meeting was described as “tense”.

During the 24 hour period leading up to Tillerson’s landing in Moscow, the White House accused the Russian government of hiding evidence that proved al-Assad was responsible the gassing of his own people, launched from a base where Russian troops are operating.

In a statement, an angry Putin shot back that the charge was fabricated and accused President Trump, who American media claimed had collaborated with Putin to manipulate the outcome of the 2016 election, of fabricating the evidence to create a fake confrontation.

“This reminds me very much of the events of 2003, when U.S. representatives in the Security Council showed alleged chemical weapons discovered in Iraq,” said Putin, referring to intelligence that Mr. Trump has also cited in recent months. “The exact same thing is happening now,” he argued.

Sean Spicer, when asked about to expect in regard to the meeting between Tillerson and Putin on Wednesday, said Tillerson was expected to focus on the mutual interests of the United States and Russia but that Tillerson would also put Putin on notice that the U.S. will not tolerate further acts of aggression by Russia or their Syrian ally.

“I think there is a shared interest in defeating ISIS in the region that we have a national security concern that should align with their national security concern,” he said. “Russia right now is an island. It’s Russia, North Korea and Iran … Russia is among that group the only non-failed state.”

Russia is only “isolating” itself by standing by Assad, he added.

The Kremlin had said earlier in the week that Putin would not meet with Mr. Tillerson upon his arrival, but on Wednesday the Russian leader’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, said Putin would “consider” meeting with Tillerson at some point “depending on how Tillerson’s other talks” went.

As a matter of protocol, Russian leaders have greeted virtually all new secretaries of state since the end of World War II, and the initial refusal was considered to be a major snub to U.S. Russian relations and was cited by many political experts as a an effort by Mr. Putin to show Tillerson that just who was in control.

Before heading back behind closed doors, Putin and Tillerson shared a stiff handshake and made no eye contact.

Russia has said that despite U.S. concerns, they will continue to back their Syrian ally and will do “whatever it takes” to ensure that al-Assad has the military backing necessary to thwart off another U.S. attack.

tillersonputin