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U.S. senator calls for post-Kim Jong-un plan

All Headlines 01:41 April 11, 2017

WASHINGTON, April 10 (Yonhap) -- The United States should work with South Korea, Japan and China to come up with a plan for what would happen in North Korea after the fall of Korean leader Kim Jong-un, a U.S. senator said Monday.

"There is a question of who would follow him (Kim Jong-un), and in the conversations I've had with experts on North Korea I don't think anybody has that answer," Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"We are a long ways away from understanding what happens after Kim Jong-un. That's why I think it's necessary the United States, South Korea, Japan come together in a strong alliance, working with China to develop a plan not only for denuclearization of Kim Jong-un's regime, but what happens next," he said. "It's a very important question that we do not have answered at this point."

U.S. senator calls for post-Kim Jong-un plan - 1

Talk of removing Kim Jong-un from power has surfaced in the U.S. as concerns about the North's nuclear and missile threats spiked, with some lawmakers asking questions if it would be a good idea to assassinate the North's leader.

On Sunday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was asked in a TV interview if the U.S. administration is considering any assassination plan for Kim, and said he is aware of "no such plans." He also said that the U.S. goal is the North's denuclearization, not regime change.

Gardner called for China to take action to rein in North Korea.

"I hope that in the coming days and weeks we will see emerge from China a plan to deal with Kim Jong-un's nuclear stockpile and how China is going to take responsibility for the situation in North Korea. And I hope we see more along those lines," he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping held their first summit talks last week and agreed to increase cooperation to persuade the North to abandon its illicit weapons programs, according to the White House.

Tillerson said after the summit that the U.S. is prepared to chart "our own course if this is something China is just unable to coordinate with us," echoing Trump's repeated warning that the U.S. will take on the North on its own unless China helps rein in the North.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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