Threat of 'Fire and Fury' Wasn't Enough for North Korea

Threat of 'Fire and Fury' Wasn't Enough for North Korea

He added that, "The great leaders I've seen don't threaten unless they're ready to act, and I'm not sure President Trump is ready to act".

During all these visits, the North Koreans emphasized that they wanted peaceful relations with the United States and their neighbors, but were convinced that we planned a preemptive military strike against their country.

In this context, Tillerson used the weekend gathering of the ASEAN regional forum, Asia's biggest security group that also includes "outside" nations such as the United States, North Korea and Japan, to try to isolate Pyongyang by "drastically" reducing their dealings with it.

Gorka characterized Tillerson's input on military matters as "nonsensical".

Later in the day, on Fox News, Gorka said that he had been "admonishing the journalist" who, he said, had asked the top USA diplomat to make "the military case for action, when that is not the mandate of the Secretary of State". "Secretary Tillerson is the chief diplomat of the United States, and it is not his portfolio to handle those issues". Condemned by North Korea, China and Russia, THAAD is being deployed by Washington in South Korea as a defense against possible missile launches by Pyongyang. "Our policy across the administration is the same", she said.


But back home, there is great concern over the tough talk from Trump. Aside from military force, scenarios range from a new round of peace talks to more aggressive actions like intercepting ships suspected of selling North Korea weapons overseas, one of the regime's key sources of income.

US officials say they will be going ahead with long-scheduled military exercises with South Korea. It also said it was readying a plan to "box in" Guam with launches of four ballistic missiles; Guam is a key American military base with submarines, warships, aircraft, and thousands of troops. But Gorka's comments provide yet more conflicting information from the White House about precisely where that red line lies.

Asked again if Tillerson should be listened to, Nauert said, "I think that everyone has clearly heard what Secretary Tillerson's forceful comments have been and have continued to be on DPRK".

But in another sign of a White House and cabinet that struggles to present a united front, White House aide Sebastian Gorka blasted America's top diplomat on Thursday, suggesting that Tillerson was speaking out of turn.

There have been other such cleanup actions, and there will inevitably be many more, as Trump's advisers try to convey to the world a perverse message: Rest assured, sleep well - and pay no attention to the president's yammering.

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