Tillerson on N. Korea: ‘Diplomatic Efforts Will Continue Until the First Bomb Drops’

By Susan Jones | October 16, 2017 | 5:38am EDT
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi at the State Department on February 28, 2017. (State Department Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – President Trump does not believe diplomatic efforts to solve the North Korea nuclear problem are a waste of time, despite a few tweets to the contrary, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Sunday.

In fact, as Tillerson told CNN’s “State of the Union,” “those diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops.”

Earlier this month, while Tillerson was in China to discuss North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, President Trump tweeted, “I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful secretary of state, that he's wasting his time trying to negotiate with little Rocket Man."

"Save your energy, Rex.” Trump said in a second tweet. “We will do what has to be done."

Tillerson said President Trump and Chinese President XI “have probably one of the closest relationships the president has with a head of state,” and there is no confusion among Chinese leaders about U.S. policy regarding North Korea.

“What the president is doing is, he's trying to motivate action on a number of people's part, in particular the regime in North Korea,” Tillerson said.



“I think he does want to be clear with Kim Jong-un and that regime in North Korea that he has military preparations ready to go and he has those military options on the table. And we have spent substantial time actually perfecting those.

“But -- but be clear,” Tillerson continued. “The president has also made clear to me that he wants this solved diplomatically. He's not seeking to go to war.”

So Trump doesn’t think negotiations with the Chinese are a waste of time? Tapper asked the secretary of state.

“No, sir,” Tillerson said. “He has made it clear to me to continue my diplomatic efforts, which we are, and we will -- as I have told others, those diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops.”

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