Politics

Tillerson Addresses North Korea’s Latest Weapons Test Threat

[NY Daily] Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declined to say how exactly the U.S. might act if North Korea drops a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific.

“We will continue our efforts in the diplomatic arena, but all our military options are on the table,” Tillerson said during a Friday appearance on “Good Morning America.” “Once we can assess the nature of this threat, the President will make a decision regarding the appropriate actions.”

The top diplomat’s remarks came less than an hour after President Trump heightened the war of words with North Korea.

“Kim Jong Un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn’t mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before!” Trump tweeted.

The North Korean strongman on Thursday night threatened to carry out another weapons test — this time possibly over the Pacific — and called the President “mentally deranged.” Trump vowed this week to “totally destroy” the nation if North Korea’s tests continued, referring to Kim as “Rocket Man.”

Tillerson, during his “GMA” appearance, didn’t give a direct answer when asked if Trump’s tough talk against the hermetic country worked.

“The President takes the responsibility of the security of the American people very seriously and it is his first and foremost responsibility but we’re not in this alone,” he said, noting that China and Russia have also put pressure on North Korea.

Trump hit Pyongyang with its latest economic blow on Thursday when he signed an order directed at entities that work with North Korea.

“Our new executive order will cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind,” Trump said.

JULY 4 2017 FILE PHOTO; PHOTO RELEASED BY THE NORTH KOREAN GOVERNMENT, AP PROVIDES ACCESS TO THIS HANDOUT PHOTO ON JULY 4, 2017, TO BE USED SOLELY TO ILLUSTRATE NEWS REPORTING OR COMMENTARY ON THE EVENTS DEPICTED IN THIS IMAGE

North Korea has been working on intercontinental ballistic missiles, which could reach U.S. shores. (AP)

While an earlier, unsigned sanctions package would’ve hit foreign governments, the new order targets people and companies — particularly those with shipping and trading business.

Tillerson also addressed criticism from a former pal, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who in 2013 awarded him the Order of Friendship medal.

Earlier this month Putin joked the former ExxonMobil CEO “fell into the wrong crowd” by joining the Trump administration, and was “moving to a slightly different direction.”

“I’ve said to Vladimir Putin I’m still the same man. I’m wearing a different hat now and I represent the American people,” Tillerson said Friday. “Obviously the relationship is very strained today but it is important that the two greatest nuclear powers in the world find a way, find areas of common interest we can work together.”

APRIL 15, 2017 AND APRIL 29, 2017 FILE PHOTOS

Kim and Trump have been engaged in a war of words. (WONG MAYE-E, PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS/AP

At the same time he said social media sites like Facebook need to be tougher after reports Russia bought a trove of ads on the network in a bid to influence last year’s election.

“We see it not just in this arena, interfering with democratic processes, we see it in advancing the face of terrorism around the world,” he said. “But they also have responsibilities. And I think they’re going to have to think carefully about their responsibilities in this regard.”

He also dispelled longstanding rumors he’s looking to leave the State Department, along with new ones that UN Ambassador Nikki Haley could take his place.

“I think we have a secretary of state currently and I think he’s planning to hang around,” he said.

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