Published: Sat, August 12, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Tillerson Urges Calm as Trump Trades Escalating Threats With North Korea

Tillerson Urges Calm as Trump Trades Escalating Threats With North Korea

During a BBC radio interview on Thursday, White House adviser Sebastian Gorka criticized Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for comments he made earlier in the week assuring Americans that nuclear war with North Korea was not an imminent possibility.

"Ultimately, the country will reach a point. whether or not we want to live in a world where North Korea possess not just nuclear weapons, but the ability to strike the United States", he said.

Commenting on this report, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera stressed the need for the Japanese government to remain fully alert.

"Accordingly, we respectfully but firmly urge you to do everything in your power to ensure that President Trump and other administration officials understand the importance of speaking, and acting with the utmost caution and restraint on this delicate issue".

"You should listen to the president; the idea that Secretary Tillerson is going to discuss military matters is simply nonsensical", Gorka said.

"We do not seek to be a threat to them, but we have to respond to the serious threats that they make towards us", Tillerson said.

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Gorka then used an anecdote involving a Holocaust survivor to suggest North Korea's threats against the USA was somehow similar to that posed against Jews by the Nazis in the Second World War. "The Clinton administration did not do so".

CLAMAN: It's now big enough that Heather Nauert, the spokesperson for Rex Tillerson was asked about it, she even said as she was walking to the press event there that she was told about it. "I think that's why the rhetoric coming out of Pyongyang is beginning to become louder and more threatening". He's a Cabinet secretary.

US President Donald Trump speaks to reporters after a security briefing at his golf estate in Bedminster, New Jersey, US, August 10, 2017. "I think the president just wanted to be clear to the North Korean regime on the US unquestionable ability to defend itself, will defend itself and its allies".

Later on Thursday, Gorka appeared on Fox News to elaborate on his comments.

Tillerson, who spent the past days in Asia working the North Korea conflict, said he didn't believe a new diplomatic strategy was needed. If a journalist doesn't know the difference between the secretary of state and the department of defense, they should hand in their credentials.

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