Secretary of State Rex Tillerson released a curt response to a North Korean ballistic missile test Tuesday, just ahead of President Donald Trump’s planned meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago property in Florida.
“North Korea launched yet another intermediate range ballistic missile,” Tillerson said, according to the State Department. “The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment.”
The statement was nearly short enough to fit into an official tweet:
Secretary Tillerson: The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment. https://t.co/ccVPjWTWdX
— Department of State (@StateDept) April 5, 2017
Compared to past rhetoric on North Korea, the three-sentence response seemed to pull back from the open discussion of pre-emptive military action against the nation.
On March 16, Tillerson said in Seoul, South Korea, that “all of the options are on the table.”
“Certainly, we do not want to – for things to get to a military conflict,” he continued. “We are quite clear in that, in our communications. But obviously, if North Korea takes actions that threaten the South Korean forces or our own forces, then that would be met with an appropriate response. If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action, that option is on the table.”
“Let me be very clear: the policy of strategic patience has ended,” he said earlier in that appearance.
The North Korean missile test was reminiscent of a similar test in February, as Japanese President Shinzō Abe visited Mar-a-Lago.