U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday that “our military option will be the only one left” if diplomatic efforts fail when it comes to North Korea.
“But to be clear, we seek a peaceful solution to this,” he said.
Tillerson said U.S. policy toward North Korea “is to deny North Korea possession of a nuclear weapon and the ability to deliver that weapon.” He said the United States’ strategy has been “a peaceful pressure campaign” that is “enabled by the four no’s.”
“The four no’s being that we do not seek regime change, we do not seek a regime collapse, we do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula, and we do not seek a reason to send our forces north of the demilitarized zone,” Tillerson told CBS News’ John Dickerson on “Face the Nation.”
He said the pressure campaign is built around “putting together the largest and strongest international coalition we can to send the same message to North Korea and to North Korea’s neighbors, China and Russia, that this is the policy of the rest of the world.”
“And you’ve seen that expressed now in two unanimous security council resolutions to impose the strictest sanctions ever. All of that designed to bring North Korea to the table for constructive, productive dialogue,” Tillerson said.
In August,“some level of restraint,” after the U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted sanctions against the North Korean government. He said it was worth noting that there had been “no missile launches” or new “provocative acts” by the North Koreans’ since the resolution was adopted.
But just this past week, the regime— a test that marked a big advance. It was the first time an intermediate range missile was launched from a mobile transporter.
On Sunday, Tillerson suggested that the onus now is mainly on China, as the nation is a principle supplier of oil to the North Korean regime — something Tillerson said can be used as leverage.
“China has concerns about a regime collapse in particular and the impact it might have along their border. So this is also to assure the government of China that that is not our agenda either,” said Tillerson.
“What we’ve said to them is, ‘Look, you have the best information. You have your hand on the valve. You set the valve where you think it’s going to create the message that you want to send to this regime that they must change the path they’re on.’ So…