Tillerson Puts Military Action Against North Korea on the Table
United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggested that military action against North Korea is an option. He is in Asia this week on his first trip to the region since taking over at the State Department. After a tour of the demilitarized zone (DMZ), that exists between North and South Korea.
Tillerson had given a speech in Japan earlier in which he said that the years of diplomacy and providing economic assistance to North Korea had failed at keeping the nation from developing nuclear weapons. He was pressed on this point and asked about the possibility that the U.S. would resort to military action. He said, “Certainly we do not want to, for things to get to military conflict. If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action, then that option’s on the table.”
North Korea Responds to Tillerson’s comments.
The country’s embassy in China took an unusual step and held a press conference to respond. Park Myong-ho, the embassy minister, said that they would not tolerate any actions by “hostile forces.” He also said that should a nuclear altercation come as a result of these action, the United States would be to blame for it.
The embassy also expressed its opposition to the Terminal High Altitude Area Device, or THAAD. This is an anti-missle system that is being installed to protect South Korea and Japan from North Korea. China has also voiced its opposition to the system.
President Trump wants to be harder on North Korea.
For his part, President Donald Trump has also had some harsh words for North Korea. He tweeted:
North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been "playing" the United States for years. China has done little to help!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 17, 2017
During the campaign, Trump was harsh on both China and North Korea. During his confirmation hearings, Tillerson said that he would take a harsher stance on China’s access in the South China Sea. For its part, China warned that any action by the U.S. in that area would result in a military response from the Asian nation.
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