United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that using military action against North Korea is "an option on the table." The top official made the statement during his visit to South Korea.
Tillerson also said that the policy of "strategic patience" has come to an end and that the US is now exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures, BBC reports.
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North Korea, in the recent years, has caused worldwide concern over its frequent ballistic missiles and nuclear tests. The Kim Jong-Un regime-led country has not stopped testing missiles even after several sanctions were imposed against it by the United Nations (UN).
Tillerson had made the statements about actions against North Korea soon after he visited the Demilitarized Zone, which separates North Korea and South Korea.
The US Secretary of State arrived in South Korea after his visit to Japan. He also emphasised that almost 20 years of efforts aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions has not yield any results, and that it is time to consider other options.
When asked about the possibility of military actions against Pyongyang, Tillerson said, "Certainly we do not want to, for things to get to military conflict. (But) If they elevate the threat of their weapons programme to a level that we believe requires action, then, that option's on the table."
Earlier this month, North Korea had launched several missiles which fell into Japanese waters, drawing sharp criticism from Japan, South Korea and the US.
Kim Jong-un in his New Year's speech had also said that his country would soon test its first inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) – the kind that is often fitted with nuclear payloads across the world and used as a deterrent by most countries.