Pyongyang warned the Trump administration that it is ready for “any war the U.S.” starts.
During his first official visit to Asia as the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson indicated that military action against North Korea is a viable option the U.S. is considering.
“Certainly, we do not want things to get to a military conflict,” he explained. “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,” Tillerson stated, referring to military action.
The secretary of state’s comments stirred resentment in the hearts of the North Korean foreign ministry.
“The U.S. should face up to the situation of the world with its eyes wide open. The DPRK has the will and capability to fully respond to any war the U.S. would like to ignite,” a foreign ministry spokesman said Monday in the country’s first response to Tillerson’s statements, reports the Korean Central News Agency.
“If the businessmen-turned U.S. authorities thought that they would frighten the DPRK, they would soon know that their method would not work on the latter,” the foreign ministry added, apparently referring to President Donald Trump and his secretary of state.
The North also called Tillerson’s “new approach” to the North Korean nuclear threat a rehash of ineffective Obama-era policies.
“Now, Tillerson is repeating what Obama touted much sanctions until he left the White House,” the foreign ministry spokesman said. “What matters is that neither Obama nor Tillerson knows the reason why the DPRK had to have access to nuclear weapons and why it is dynamically bolstering up the nuclear force.”
Tillerson told a reporter over the weekend that the North needs more time to change course and pursue a positive direction, but North Korea has stated clearly that it is unwilling to discuss denuclearization.
“If the purpose is making us give up our nuclear program, (North Korea) is not interested in any kinds of dialogue,” North Korea’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, Kim In-ryong, said last week. North Korea believes that its only viable security option is the possession of nuclear weapons.
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