"We all need to be very sober and clear-eyed about the current situation, as North Korea has continued to make advance in both its nuclear weapons… [and] the ballistic missile systems. We have to recognize that that threat is growing and if North Korea does not choose the pathway of engagement, discussion, negotiation, then they themselves will trigger an [military] option," Tillerson said, answering a question about possible war between Washington and Pyongyang.
Commenting a question on the reported discussion of a "limited military strike" against North Korea, the top US diplomat said that he would not comment on the issues "that have yet to be decided." The US secretary of state also refused to comment potential contact between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
"Most of the actions that have been taken… have been taken actually in ports of call, when vessels have been believed to violate sanctions have been detained in the port of call, where the country is compliant with the sanctions, so at this point it requires very little military activity to enforce the sanctions," Tillerson said Tuesday at a joint press conference with his Canadian counterpart Chrystia Freeland in Vancouver.
Moreover, Rex Tillerson emphasized that the unity of the United States, Russia and China in the issues related to the North Korean nuclear activities will stay unchanged despite the efforts exerted by Pyongyang.
"All of us share one policy and one goal and that is the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Our unity and our common goals with the others in the region, most particularly China and Russia, will remain intact, despite North Korea's frequent attempts to divide us," Tillerson said Tuesday at a joint press conference with his Canadian counterpart Chrystia Freeland in Vancouver.
Meanwhile, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and her UK counterpart Boris Johnson held a meeting in Canada and discussed North Korea's nuclear activities, as well as the dialogue between Seoul and Pyongyang, South Korean media reported Wednesday.
The Yonhap news agency said that the South Korean senior diplomat stressed the role of London in the developments around the Korean Peninsula and said about the dialogue between the two Koreas. In turn, Johnson expressed hope that the inter-Korean negotiations would be an opportunity for the settlement of the existing crisis in the region and voiced support to Seoul's diplomatic efforts.
The tensions on the Korean peninsula have been high recently due to the repeated nuclear and weapons tests carried out by Pyongyang in violation of the UN Security Council resolutions. The dialogue between South Korea and the North resumed in January on the issue of the North Korean athletes' participation in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in South Korea.