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Tillerson: Pre-Emptive Action 'on the Table' for North Korea Threat

03-17-2017
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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned it may be necessary to take pre-emptive action against North Korea should their weapons program becomes a serious enough threat.

Speaking in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Tillerson made it clear the time for negotiating was over.

"It's important that the leadership of North Korea realize that their current pathway of nuclear weapons and escalating threats will not lead to their objective of security and economic development," he said.

"That pathway can only be achieved by denuclearizing, giving up their weapons of mass destruction, and only then will we be prepared to engage with them in talks," he said.
    
During a news conference in Japan he noted that the U.S. does not want a conflict with North Korea.

"North Korea and its people need not fear the United States or their neighbors in the region who seek only to live in peace with North Korea," he told reporters.

"With this in mind the United States calls on North Korea to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and refrain from any further provocations," he said.

When asked about using military force against North Korea Tillerson said "all of the options are on the table."

"Obviously if North Korea takes actions that threaten South Korean forces or our own forces that would be met with (an) appropriate response," he said. "If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action, that option is on the table."

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