Speaking in South Korea on Friday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that a military option was on the table if North Korea were to significantly threaten the United States or its allies, CNN reported.
“Certainly, we do not want things to get to a military conflict,” the secretary of state told reporters in Seoul.
“Obviously if North Korea takes actions that threaten the South Korean forces or our own forces, then that would be met with an appropriate response.”
“Let me be very clear. The policy of strategic patience has ended,” Tillerson added, using a term President Obama used to describe his policy towards North Korea. “We are exploring a new range of security and diplomatic measures. All options are on the table.
“If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe that requires action, that option is on the table.”
Tillerson’s remarks marked the second major statement in as many days that signaled that the Trump administration plans to deal with North Korea in a significantly different manner than Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton did.
In Tokyo on Thursday, the secretary of state said that 20 years of American policy aimed at stopping North Korea’s nuclear development hadn’t worked.
According to The New York Times, Tillerson also told reporters in Seoul that he did not plan to negotiate with the North Koreans on the nuclear program.
Negotiations, Tillerson said, “can only be achieved by denuclearizing, giving up their weapons of mass destruction.”
“Only then will we be prepared to engage them in talks,” he said.
Tillerson’s remarks indicate a dramatic break from past policy, but a dramatic break is what’s needed. Nuclear tests and missile launches from the North Koreans have only proved how ineffectual our efforts have been.
Tillerson has the North Koreans on edge, and we couldn’t be happier.
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H/T The Daily Caller