Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and President Donald Trump appear to be on the same page when it comes to taking military action against North Korea. Tillerson said Friday that "strategic patience has ended" and that a military response was “on the table,” while Trump took to Twitter and said North Korea was “behaving very badly.”
"If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action then that option is on the table," Tillerson told a press conference in Seoul, South Korea.
Since Trump took office, North Korea has fired four ballistic missiles into the sea of Japan, CNN reported. North Korea has also said it is currently working on a nuclear-tipped missile that can reach America. Because of North Korea's missile rampage, Tillerson said Washington's policy of "strategic patience" had ended.
"Let me be very clear — the policy of strategic patience has ended," he said Friday. "We are exploring a new range of security and diplomatic measures. All options are on the table."
Later Friday morning, Trump reprimanded North Korea, tweeting, "North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been 'playing' the United States for years. China has done little to help!"
The president promised last year he would strengthen foreign policies and pledged North Korea will not be able to obtain its promise of hitting the U.S. with any nuclear missiles.
Tillerson, who was in Tokyo on Thursday, said there were many efforts over the past few decades to stop North Korea's nuclear development, but failed. "North Korea not only threatens its regional neighbors but the United States and other countries," Tillerson said.
The secretary of state also said the U.S. had provided $1.3 billion in assistance to North Korea since 1995, but "in return North Korea has detonated nuclear weapons and dramatically increased its launches of ballistic missiles to threaten America and our allies."
However, he added that he does want "things to get to a military conflict" because there are "many, many steps we can take" and "we hope that that will persuade North Korea to take a different course of action. That's our desire." But if North Korea continues with further missile threats, Tillerson said it "would be met with an appropriate response."
Tillerson is on a three-country Asia tour, visiting China, Japan and North Korea.