With Washington taking a North Korea policy overhaul, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday declared that the existing “strategic patience” approach is over, saying all options including military action are on the table.
At a joint news conference with Seoul’s Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, Tillerson also urged China to cease its economic retaliation against South Korea over its plan to host a US missile shield here, calling it “unnecessary, inappropriate and troubling.”
“Efforts for North Korea to achieve a peaceful stability for the last two decades have failed to make us safe,” the secretary said.
“Let me be very clear: the policy of strategic patience has ended. We are exploring a new range of diplomatic, security, economic measures. All options are on the table.”
His remarks represent the Donald Trump administration’s strongest signal yet that it would take a much tougher stance than its predecessors including Barack Obama’s “strategic patience” policy.
“Certainly we do not want for things to get to a military conflict, we’re quite clear on that in our communications, but 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,” he said.
“If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action, that option is on the table.”
Tillerson has said his maiden Asia tour, which also took him to Tokyo and includes a stop in Beijing from Saturday, is aimed at exchanging views on a “new approach” toward Pyongyang.
Stressing the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system’s raison d’etre, he called for China to refrain from taking retaliation against Seoul and join in addressing the threat that “makes THAAD necessary.”
“We also believe it is not the way for a regional power to help resolve what is a serious threat for everyone. So we hope China will alter its position on punishing South Korea,” Tillerson said.
“We hope they will work with us to eliminate the reason THAAD is required.” READ MORE