Donald Trump is not the only person from the White House antagonizing North Korea this morning.
On Friday, CNN reports, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that there is a possibility of the U.S. taking military action against North Korea if provoked.
Tillerson was speaking at a joint press conference with the South Korean Foreign Minister, Yun Byung-se, in Seoul, South Korea. During his statement, Tillerson told reporters that Washington’s “strategic patience” regarding North Korea had ended.
‘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.’
He then added:
‘Certainly, we do not want things to get to a military conflict … but 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.’
‘If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe that requires action, that option is on the table.’
This isn’t the first time Tillerson has brought up North Korea, either. On Thursday, while speaking in Tokyo — the first stop on his three-country tour — Tillerson also said that the efforts from the last 20 years to put an end to North Korea’s nuclear development have failed.
‘The diplomatic and other efforts of the past 20 years to bring North Korea to a point of denuclearization have failed. So we have 20 years of a failed approach.’
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
With their critiques of and threats of action against North Korea, Trump and Tillerson are wandering into dangerous territory. Military action against North Korea is currently considered to be too much of a risk, especially since there is a possibility of an attack leading to casualties in Japan and South Korea. However, Trump has been antagonizing foreign powers practically since day one, so today’s tweet and Tillerson’s statement aren’t exactly surprising.
Watch a clip from Tillerson’s press conference below, via YouTube.
Featured image via Jeon Heon-Kyun-Pool/Getty Images.