WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sometimes what is left unsaid says it all. That appears to be the case when it comes to Rex Tillerson’s shrouded message on Wednesday to North Korea.
In response to news that the rogue nation had fired yet another practice missile just one day before president Donald Trump’s scheduled meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson indicated that his patience with North Korea dictator Kim Jong-un had reached it’s end.
“North Korea launched yet another intermediate range ballistic missile. The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment,” Tillerson said in an official statement.
U.S. officials have pinned their hopes on the possibility that China may play a role in easing tensions between the United States and North Korea. While China’s official stance is that it opposes military action against North Korea, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Wednesday called for cooperation from both sides.
“China has noticed such reports, we all know that the Security Council at the United Nations has issued regulations related to the missile launch by North Korea,” said Chunying. “We think that all sides involved should exercise restraint and not do anything that will escalate the difficult situation in the region.”
Despite China’s call for compromise, political analysts recognized Tillerson’s statement as further proof that the Trump administration’s policy in regard to dealing with the communist nation will be far different than that of Barack Obama’s.
“It seems Tillerson purposefully issued a short statement to send a tough signal,” said Kim Sung-han, a professor at Seoul’s Korea University and a former South Korean deputy foreign minister. “He is making it clear that, no matter what North Korea does, the United States won’t commit to direct negotiations unless Pyongyang shows real willingness for disarmament.”
Although the Pentagon has assessed North Korea’s latest test missile as a failure, intelligence officials have discovered that the North Korean military has developed an arsenal of high tech nuclear weapons that, if utilized, could anihalate up to 90 percent of the U.S. population (http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/defense/326094-how-north-korea-could-kill-up-to-90-percent-of-americans-at-any).
Narushige Michishita, an analyst from Tokyo’s National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, said Trump’s attempt to “sound scary” won’t work with North Korea, or China for that matter, if he fails to back his words with action.
“The Trump administration’s credibility will be undermined if it fails,” he said.
“The clock has now run out,” said Tillerson on the North Korean threat. When asked if a preemptive nuclear strike against North Korea was a possibility, he replied, “All options are on the table.”