Secretary of State of the United States Rex Tillerson on Sunday said that his country will continue its diplomatic efforts with North Korea till “the first bomb drops”, Reuters reported. His statement is being seen as an attempt to try to ease the ongoing tension between Washington DC and Pyongyang.
Tillerson downplayed US President Donald Trump’s tweets from October 1 that the secretary of state was wasting his efforts by trying to negotiate with “Little Rocket Man”, in reference to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. “Save your energy Rex,” Trump had tweeted. “We’ll do what’s to be done.”
“I think he does want to be clear with Kim Jong Un and the regime in North Korea that he has military preparations ready to go, and he has those military options on the table,” Tillerson said, according to AP. “But be clear: The president has also made clear to me that he wants this solved diplomatically...He’s not seeking to go to war.”
Tillerson further denied that Trump had undermined him and said that he thinks the US president only wanted to motivate the North Korean regime. He said that Trump “has made it clear to me to continue my diplomatic efforts, which we are, and I’ve told others those diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops”.
His comments come in the backdrop of growing tensions between the United States and North Korea after Pyongyang tested several missiles this year.
On September 3, North Korea had claimed to have successfully conducted a hydrogen bomb test, making it the country’s sixth underground nuclear test since 2006.
In his first address to the United Nations General Assembly, on September 19, Trump had called Kim a “rocket man” on a “suicide mission”, prompting Kim to warn the US president that he would “pay dearly” for his comments.