Rex Tillerson: "Peaceful Pressure Campaign" To Halt North Korean Nuclear Program Is The "Unanimous" Policy Of The Whole World

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson joins 'Face the Nation' host John Dickerson to discuss North Korea's latest missile launch, and the diplomatic effort to resolve the crisis peacefully.

"The peaceful pressure campaign is built around... putting together the largest and strongest international coalition we can to send the same message to North Korea and to North Korea's neighbors, China and Russia, that this is the policy of the rest of the world," Tillerson said.

"You've seen that expressed now in two unanimous security council resolutions to impose the strictest sanctions ever," he explained. "All of that designed to bring North Korea to the table for constructive, productive dialogue."





"We have tried a couple of times to signal to them that we're ready when they're ready. And they have responded with more missile launches and a nuclear test. All they need to do to let us know they're ready to talk is to just stop these tests, stop these provocative actions, and let's lower the threat level and the rhetoric," he also said. "We'll know it when we see it in terms of their seriousness."

He warned, however: "If our diplomatic efforts fail though, our military option will be the only one left."

JOHN DICKERSON: All right. Let's move on to North Korea. This week the UN increased sanctions against North Korea. But then North Korea fired another missile. So what's next?

REX TILLERSON: Well, first, I think it's important to understand the policy of the United States, John, towards North Korea is to deny North Korea possession of a nuclear weapon and the ability to deliver that weapon. Our strategy has been to undertake this peaceful pressure campaign we call it enabled by the four no's.The four no's being that we do not seek regime change, we do not seek a regime collapse, we do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula, and we do not seek a reason to send our forces north of the demilitarized zone. So the peaceful pressure campaign is built around enabling--putting together the largest and strongest international coalition we can to send the same message to North Korea and to North Korea's neighbors, China and Russia, that this is the policy of the rest of the world.

And you've seen that expressed now in two unanimous security council resolutions to impose the strictest sanctions ever. All of that designed to bring North Korea to the table for constructive, productive dialogue. If our diplomatic efforts fail though, our military option will be the only one left. So all of this is backed up by a very strong and resolute military option. But to be clear, we seek a peaceful solution to this.

JOHN DICKERSON: So going back to those four no's, those are a message to North Korea that--that despite the fact North Korea says that the U.S. has aggressive aims, the United States doesn't has aggressive aims. You've been clear about that. You've been clear again this morning. They're not getting the message, are they?

REX TILLERSON: No. It's also a message to assure China that that is also the U.S. policy as well. Because as you well know, China has concerns about a regime collapse in particular and the impact it might have along their border. So this is also to assure the government of China that that is not our agenda either. In an effort to bring them as part of our effort, and they have joined us in these most recent sanctions votes at the UN, we believe China and Russia as well can bring a lot of pressure to bear on North Korea.

JOHN DICKERSON: You've said that China and Russia need to take direct action. What direct action does China need to take?

REX TILLERSON: Well, there are two particular economic revenue streams to the North Koreans that are quite important to their ability to fund their weapons programs and to maintain their economic activity just within their own country. One, of course, is energy. No economy can function if it does not have access to energy.

REX TILLERSON: China is the principal supplier of oil to North Korea. They have cut off all supplies in the past when things got bad. We're asking China to use that leverage they have with North Korea to influence them. And in the case of Russia it's foreign laborers. Russia has over 30,000 foreign laborers from North Korea. Those wages all go back to the regime in North Korea.

JOHN DICKERSON: China says if they cut off the oil it will lead to that collapse that they worry about. Is there anything the U.S. can do to allay their fears?

REX TILLERSON: Well we--what we've said to them is, "Look, you have the best information. You have your hand on the valve. You set the valve where you think it's going to create the message that you want to send to this regime that they must change the path they're on." So we're put--leaving it in China's hands at this point

JOHN DICKERSON: And, and why not just start talks now? China, Russia, France have all said the U.S. should solve this with talks at the diplomatic table?

REX TILLERSON: Well, I'm waiting for the regime of North Korea to give us some indication that they're prepared to have constructive, productive talks. We have tried a couple of times to signal to them that we're ready when they're ready. And they have responded with more missile launches and a nuclear test. All they need to do to let us know they're ready to talk is to just stop these tests, stop these provocative actions, and let's lower the threat level and the rhetoric.

JOHN DICKERSON: Do they need to stop them, you know, give them or two weeks, or something? Or do they need to say, "We are going to stop"? Does it have to be a verbal promise?

REX TILLERSON: Well, I've said in the past, John, that we'll know it when we see it in terms of their seriousness.

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