WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday that North Korea is an immediate threat to his country and expressed his intention to continue with the diplomatic approach with hopes of success – until the first bomb falls.
“As I’ve told people many times, I will continue our diplomatic efforts until the first bomb drops. I’m confident that we’re gonna be successful. But I’m also confident that Secretary Mattis will be successful if it ends up being his turn,” Tillerson told a conference on US-South Korea relations at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington.
The head of US diplomacy described the Pyongyang regime, which has raised regional tensions with its continuous missile tests, as the most immediate threat to the United States.
“We need the DPRK to come to the table for talks,” Tillerson said, using the initials of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “We’re ready to talk any time they’d like to talk.”
The US secretary of state repeated once more that Washington has abandoned the policy of strategic patience and has entered a new era of strategic responsibility.
“Our military preparedness is strong. Because of the situation, the president has ordered our military planners to have a full range of contingencies available, and they are ready,” Tillerson said.
South Korea and the United States wound up last Dec. 8 some large-scale aerial maneuvers, a show of force against North Korea after the Kim Jong-un regime launched a new intercontinental missile in late November.
North Korea’s continued testing of missiles and nuclear weapons, added to the bellicose language of US President Donald Trump and the stepped up military deployments by Washington on the Korean peninsula, have increased the tension to levels unprecedented since the 1950-1953 Korean War.