Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. will not rule out the possibility of using military force against North Korea if it continues to develop nuclear weapons, telling reporters Friday that "all of the options are on the table."
After visiting the militarized border between South Korea and North Korea, Tillerson spoke at a press conference with South Korean foreign minister Yun Byung-se in Seoul, where he was asked if he would rule out military action against North Korea.
In Seoul, Secretary Tillerson met with Korean Foreign Minister Yun to convey support for U.S.-ROK alliance and address #DPRK nuclear threat. pic.twitter.com/WhOfdJi2fc— Department of State (@StateDept) March 17, 2017
Tillerson said the U.S. does not want to engage in a military conflict, "but obviously if North Korea takes actions that threatens South Korean forces or our own forces, that would be met with (an) appropriate response. If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action that option is on the table."
Referring to how the Obama administration hoped sanctions would cripple North Korea to the point where it would renew de-nuclearization negotiations, Tillerson added, "Let me be very clear: the policy of strategic patience has ended."
He also emphasized that the U.S. had no plans to curtail its military activities in the region.
"We don't believe conditions are right for talks and we have no intention of ending military exercises," he said.