July 23, 2018

Democratic lawmakers urge Tillerson to stop Trump's NK threats

13 August 2017, 07:01 | Devin Moran

WATCH LIVE: State Department expected to address North Korean threats in news briefing

The Latest Trump praises Xi for new UN sanctions

On Wednesday, Trump followed up his "fire and fury" warning with a boast about USA nuclear capabilities. "So if anything, maybe that statement wasn't tough enough".

It makes sense that Trump's team is blaming its predecessor: Obama's efforts to stop North Korea's nuclear advancement obviously didn't work.

The European Union says it's concerned about tensions over North Korea and that the standoff can only be resolved by peaceful means, as a war of words escalates between Washington and Pyongyang. "Secretary Tillerson is the chief diplomat of the United States, and it is his portfolio to handle those issues".

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini's spokeswoman said Wednesday that the developments are "of great concern to the European Union".

He stopped in the small Pacific island of Guam, a US territory, just hours after North Korea threatened to strike it. It's unclear how accurate the North can be when launching intermediate-range missiles, putting Guam's 160,000 residents in danger. After taking office, he jettisoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership and told South Korean officials that it would be "appropriate if they pay" for a $1 billion USA missile defense system. The most likely way to take the missiles down would be by American or Japanese warships equipped with the Aegis radar and missile defense system.

The belligerent message from Trump was meant to match the aggressive, at times ridiculous, rhetoric from North Korea, according to Tillerson. Haley said that as the U.S. declined to seek UN Security Council action after Pyongyang's second ICBM test that month. The U.S. military also has a THAAD missile defense system on the island, which could hit the missiles on their way back to earth.

GORKA: Absolutely, absolutely. No, I never said that, I said for reporters to force our chief diplomat, the fantastic Rex Tillerson to give details of military options is nonsensical. That's my responsibility, to have those.

Wednesday, Tillerson stressed ongoing diplomatic efforts with North Korea, alluding to Chinese and Russian efforts to talk to North Korea. "These statements are irresponsible and risky, and also senselessly provide a boon to domestic North Korean propaganda which has long sought to portray the United States as a threat to their people". Tillerson's comments seemed to calm things down, at least for the time being, but then White House Aide, Sebastian Gorka entered the picture.

"The idea that Secretary Tillerson is going to discuss military matters is simply nonsensical", Gorka said.

Despite Trump's apocalyptic language, Tillerson said the US wasn't closer to military action and that Kim still has a "way out" through "talks, with the right expectation of what those talks will be about" - an end to his violent regime's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. That is his mandate.

Pyongyang's state-run KCNA news agency issued an update on its strike plans after Trump's incendiary comments Tuesday that threats to the United States from Pyongyang would be met with "fire and fury".

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