Tillerson And Trump Slam North Korea: All Options Are On The Table

President Trump lashed out at two Asian nations on Friday, tweeting: “North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been playing the United States for years. China has done little to help!”

USA Today noted that the previous day, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declined to rule out a preemptive attack on North Korea if the country’s strongman leader does not abandon his development of nuclear missiles with the capability of reaching the United States. “Obviously, if North Korea takes actions that threaten South Korean forces or our own forces, that would be met with appropriate response,” Tillerson told reporters in Seoul. “If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action, that option is on the table.”

Reuters reported that the secretary of state made the statement after touring the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea. More than 28,000 U.S. troops are based in South Korea. Tillerson pledged to reverse what he called former President Obama’s “strategic patience” regarding North Korea’s nukes. “We are exploring a new range of security and diplomatic measures,” the secretary said. “All options are on the table. … Certainly, we do not want for things to get to a military conflict.”

According to Reuters, other top government officials believe the United States will continue trying to control North Korea with economic sanctions and diplomacy. “As a practical matter, I don’t see the administration deciding to preemptively strike North Korea’s capabilities,” said Mike Green of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “We wouldn't get them all, and there’s a risk North Korea would open fire with its hundreds of missiles and thousands of artillery tubes and its nuclear and chemical and biological weapons on Japan and Korea and even China.”

The secretary of state was scheduled to continue his travels on Saturday by meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The trip is Tillerson’s first visit to Asia as head of the State Department, though he traveled extensively for decades as Exxon/Mobil’s CEO.

Source: USA Today
Photo: USA Today, AWD News

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