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By Ryan Pickrell
President Donald Trump called out North Korea for its bad behavior in an early morning tweet Friday.
Since Trump took office, North Korea has fired off five ballistic missiles, one of which was a new type of solid-fueled, mid-range ballistic missile, and commercial satellite imagery shows extensive preparation work, potentially for a sixth nuclear test, at North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site. All previous strategies have failed to stop or even effectively curb North Korea’s development of bigger and better weaponry.
Trump’s patience appears to be wearing thin.
North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been "playing" the United States for years. China has done little to help!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 17, 2017
Speaking in South Korea Friday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that “all options are on the table.”
“Let me be very clear: the policy of strategic patience has ended. We are exploring a new range of security and diplomatic measures. All options are on the table,” Tillerson told reporters.
“Strategic patience” was an Obama-era policy which involved waiting for North Korea to eventually collapse, thus creating an opportunity for de-nuclearization on the peninsula. During the Obama administration, the North conducted four nuclear tests, and Pyongyang now claims the North can mount nuclear warheads on a ballistic missiles.
Certainly, we do not want things to get to a military conflict,” the secretary of state said. “Obviously, if North Korea takes actions that threatens the South Korean forces or our own forces, then that would be met with an appropriate response.”
“If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe that requires action, that option is on the table,” he further remarked, referring to the possibility of military reaction.
In Japan, Tillerson said the strategies tried over the past 20 years have failed and a “new approach” is required to properly address the growing North Korean threat.
In his tweet, Trump criticized China for doing “little to help” resolve issues on the peninsula. His comments are likely to cast a shadow over Tillerson’s meeting with Chinese officials in Beijing this weekend.
While Tillerson is expected to put pressure on China. “We will be having discussions with China as to further actions we believe they might consider taking that would be helpful to bringing North Korea to a different attitude about its future need for nuclear weapons,” he explained previously.