On his first trip to Asia, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States would consider taking military action against North Korea, while speaking in Seoul.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: “Let me be very clear: The policy of strategic patience has ended. We’re exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures. All options are on the table.”
This morning, Tillerson also visited the Demilitarized Zone on the border between North and South Korea. This week, the U.S., Japan and South Korea carried out two days of military training exercises, sending warships to the same area where North Korea fired four missiles a week earlier. The U.S.’s elite SEAL Team 6 took part in the war games for the first time.
The war games coincide with a U.S. military build-up in the region. Over the last few weeks, the U.S. has been deploying a missile defense system known as THAAD, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, to South Korea. The U.S. has now also announced it will be deploying unmanned attack drones to South Korea.
During Tillerson’s trip to Asia, he endorsed the proposed dramatic cuts to the State Department budget, despite warnings the cuts would decrease the U.S.'s ability to carry out diplomatic efforts to resolve conflicts. Defense Secretary James Mattis once famously said while serving as the commander of U.S. Central Command, “If you don't fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition.”