U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, and Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida, right, shake hands prior to their bilateral meeting at the Foreign Ministry's Iikura Guesthouse in Tokyo, Thursday, March 16, 2017. Tillerson is in Tokyo for the first leg of the trip to Asia, which is occurring amid escalating tensions with North Korea.(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

The Latest: Tillerson calls on NKorea to quit nuke program

March 16, 2017 - 3:54 am

TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's Asian tour (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has called on North Korea to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, saying the isolated nation "has nothing to fear" from the United States.

Tillerson made that declaration after meeting his Japanese counterpart Thursday in Tokyo, where they discussed possible new approaches in dealing with the isolated nation.

Tillerson said that 20 years of U.S. diplomatic and other efforts to get North Korea to denuclearize have failed, but gave no specifics about how the Trump administration, which is currently doing a policy review, would tackle the issue.

Tillerson is making his first trip to Asia as the top U.S. diplomat.

Both Tillerson and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida urged China to push Pyongyang to change.

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2:49 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says cooperation with allies Japan and South Korea is "critical" to addressing the threat from North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

Tillerson was speaking as he met with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on his first trip to Asia as the top U.S. diplomat.

North Korea is expected to top the agenda at Tillerson's talks in Tokyo. Last week, North Korea test-fired four missiles that landed in ocean off Japan.

Tillerson will also meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Japan and South Korea both host tens of thousands of U.S. troops. Washington has been urging the two nations to step security cooperation despite their historically strained relations. This week, the nations' three navies have conducted missile defense information-sharing drills in the region

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