U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke to the United Nations on Friday to remark on North Korea's recent attempts to test nuclear missiles:
"It is time for us to retake control of the situation.
“There is no reason to think North Korea will change its behavior under the current multilateral sanctions framework. I urge this council to act before North Korea does. [...] It is time for us to retake control of the situation.”
“For too long, the international community has been reactive in addressing North Korea. Those days must come to an end. Failing to act now on the most pressing security issue in the world may bring catastrophic consequences.”
Tillerson called on the international community to ban together to further sanction North Korea economically:
“We must bring maximum economic pressure by severing trade relationships that directly fund the DPRK's [Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the country's official name] nuclear missile program. I call on the international community to suspend the flow of North Korean guest workers and to impose bans on North Korean imports, especially coal.”
The secretary of state also directly called on China to take on these measures. Tillerson stated that since 90 percent of North Korea trade comes from China, they have a significant amount of influence over the DPRK. Tillerson referenced the conversations the U.S. has had with China and called them “very productive exchanges,” according to The New York Times.
Tillerson then said that “all options for responding to future provocation must remain on the table,” continuing:
“Diplomatic and financial levers of power will be backed up by willingness to counteract North Korean aggression with military action if necessary.”
Tillerson's statements come after President Donald Trump this morning warned of a potential “major, major conflict” between the United States and the Asian country.