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Tillerson Won’t Rule Out Military Action Against North Korea

Tillerson Won’t Rule Out Military Action Against North Korea

“Nothing has been taken off the table.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has warned North Korea that the U.S. will not rule out military action or tougher sanctions against the communist kingdom. From Fox News:

“We’re exchanging views,” Tillerson said, while standing a few feet within what is technically North Korean territory inside what is known as the Joint Security Area.

“Nothing has been taken off the table,” he said, when asked whether he would rule out nuclearization of the peninsula, during the interview with Fox News.

Tillerson described the strategy towards North Korea the last 20 years as a failure:

“Let me be very clear: the policy of strategic patience has ended,” said Tillerson in a later press availability in Seoul with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se.

“If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level we believe requires action that option is on the table,” Tillerson also said, adding the U.S. wants to avoid military conflict and hopes other measures convince North Korea to suspend its weapons programs.

Tillerson met with South Korean Prime Minister Yun Byung-se in Seoul:

“We have various policy methods available,” said Yun, who may leave his position following elections for a new South Korean government in early May. “If imposing diplomatic pressure is a building, military deterrence would be one of the pillars of this building.”

“We plan to have all relevant nations work together more closely than in the past and make sure that North Korea, feeling pain for its wrongdoings, changes its strategy.”

Early this morning, President Donald Trump lashed out at North Korea on Twitter:

On Tuesday, North Korea threatened the U.S. with “merciless” attacks if the military continues drills with South Korea:

“If they infringe on the DPRK’s sovereignty and dignity even a bit, its army will launch merciless ultra-precision strikes from ground, air, sea and underwater,” the North’s state news agency KCNA said.

North Korea’s official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“On March 11 alone, many enemy carrier-based aircraft flew along a course near territorial air and waters of the DPRK to stage drills of dropping bombs and making surprise attacks on the ground targets of its army,” KCNA said.

North Korea has upped its anti-American rhetoric since officials fired four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan last week, with one coming close to the Japanese coast.

And while Yun tended to agree with Tillerson, things may change soon. South Korea’s Constitutional Court removed President Park Geun-hye last week amid numerous corruption allegations against her.

The country will hold a snap election on May 9, which may usher in a more liberal view on North Korea. The opposition leaders “want more engagement with North Korea and are wary of a major confrontation in the region.” Moon Jae-in, leader of the of the Democrat Party and may win in May, said she wants to bring “North Korea back to the negotiation table.”

The opposition does not like the missile defense system brought into South Korea by America, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), since it has heightened tension with China. Experts said that China has concerns the countries will use the system “to spy on China’s activities, rather than monitor incoming missiles from North Korea” and it could “undermine its ability to respond to an attack on its own soil.”


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In retrospect, it seems General Douglas MacArthur was right.

Any attack on North Korea will almost certainly result in Chinese intervention and another Korean War. The result of that war will be the unification of the peninsula under a Chinese vassal state.

Iran is another looming war, this time with Russian involvement.

We have a truly reckless government.

    Paul in reply to bob sykes. | March 17, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    What’s Korean for “Reset Button?”

    Or maybe we could just send James Taylor over there to croon them into compliance.

    Or perhaps just a public commitment not to deploy military options ahead of diplomatic negotiations is the answer.

    Or maybe a few AC-130’s full of cash… is 150 Billion enough?

    Or maybe whispered promises of “more flexibility” followed by no response to naked aggression.

    Nah, the “red line” is the way to go. Definitely the “red line” followed by limpness when it is crossed.

    That’s the ticket. Surely they’ll like us then.

    inspectorudy in reply to bob sykes. | March 17, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    Your military strategic knowledge not withstanding, NK has become a crazed unpredictable animal. No one knows the magnitude of an engagement with them nor the outcome. In prior days, they could be allowed to do as they pleased since it threatened no one else. But with ICBM’s and nuclear warheads they are now a threat to everyone in the region including Hawaii. They can no longer be allowed to use blackmail to keep their economy alive. Any action would have to be multifaceted and include all of the regional countries including China and Japan. Getting all of them on the same page will be an enormous endeavor.

    mariner in reply to bob sykes. | March 18, 2017 at 12:59 am

    I’m not so sure about that, Bob.

    My understanding is that the Chinese economy is not robust enough to withstand the trade repercussions of going to war with the U.S. over anything, especially NKorea.

    The result could actually be Korean unification with SKorea in charge.

Diplomatic leverage, perhaps. However, revisiting Libya, Syria, or Ukraine is unlikely.

At this stage, “Nothing is off the table” is the only reasonable answer to the question posed by the reporter.

We have a new President, and we are in a negotiation. Unlike the last President, he refuses to bid against himself.

DJT himself had pretty much the same thing to say when questioned about Russian provocations.

“I’m not going to tell you anything about what I do. I don’t talk about a military response,” said Trump, who then reiterated campaign points that he doesn’t make a practice of announcing his intentions militarily.

“I don’t have to tell you what I’m going to do in North Korea. I don’t have to tell you what I’m going to do with Iran. You know why? Because they shouldn’t know,” said Trump.

    In diplomacy, particularly against insane regimes, it sometimes is best to be both firm and vague. If you get specific, such as “Use of an atomic bomb on S.Korea will result in the destruction of all of North Korea’s large cities” that can easily be twisted into a threat, and the *only* thing you would hear from NK for the next ten years would be “The running dog capitalists intend on nuking us, therefore we must defend ourselves.”

    Nevertheless, I believe that if NK had used a nuke on SK during Obama’s term, there probably would have been no equivalent radioactive response. Today, however…

Close The Fed | March 17, 2017 at 6:54 pm

If Bill Clinton had addressed this properly, we wouldn’t be here. But Noooooo, he was the king of kick the can down the road.

If you want, recall me from the retired list. Throw me at them. I’m a hated white male.

Supposedly the white establishment exploits minority youth in their wars. So send me.

Sincerely, a white guy with a retiree’s ID card. Who hates the NORKs.

The South Koreans don’t even want our missile defense system deployed in their country. Somehow I just don’t see them or Japan allowing nuclear bombs stored in their countries either.
Tillerson disallowing media pool reporters on his trips and only giving exclusive interviews to Fox ought to send warming signals to everyone. He’s as idiotic as his master, DE.

    inspectorudy in reply to Lee Jan. | March 18, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    “The South Koreans don’t even want our missile defense system deployed in their country.”

    Are you a writer for AP? This is the kind of reporting we get from them. There is a small fraction of the political regime in SK that does not want the Thad missile defense system deployed there. But that is not the whole country. If the threat gets more ominous to SK then there will be much more concern about what the nutjob in NK is going to do and calls for more defensive weapons by the citizens of SK. This can also be used a negotiating tool by Trump to get China to do something. China does not want this system to be deployed in SK but if they don’t help relieve the pressure then they will have to accept it.

    Paul in reply to Lee Jan. | March 18, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    The public statements from Japan and South Korea’s leadership indicates differently.

    If you have a madman at your door pointing a weapon at you, a reasonable person’s response would include:

    1) develop defensive mechanisms, and
    2) develop a deterrence capability

    Anything else is just huffing unicorn farts

    Barry in reply to Lee Jan. | March 18, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    What’s the going rate for your propaganda?

    If SK doesn’t want a missile defense system, they can – just.say.NO.

    You’re full of it as usual. Paid propaganda progs always are.

Sorry for the typo. Make that WARNING signals