Speaking to the press in Seoul Friday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that a military option is “on the table” if Pyongyang decides to make good on its threats of striking at U.S. and South Korean Forces.
In reply to a question from a CNN reporter, Tillerson said, “Certainly, we do not want things to get to a military conflict. Obviously if North Korea takes actions that threatens 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. “We are exploring a new range of security and diplomatic measures. All options are on the table,” the secretary explained, demonstrating a complete deviation from policies that go as far back to the Clinton administration.
“If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe that requires action, that option is on the table,” he continued.
The Secretary of State’s remarks follows his statement to reporters in Tokyo the previous day, warning about another probable nuclear test by North Korea.
Notwithstanding widespread disapproval, he praised President Donald Trump’s proposed federal budget, stressing that he is “confident” that the planned budget cuts would make his agency “more efficient.”
He said, “The level of spending that the State Department has been undertaking, in particular this past year, is simply not sustainable. As time goes by, there will be fewer military conflicts that the U.S. will be directly engaged in.”