Secretary of State, Rex W. Tillerson has affirmed on Saturday that every option is on the table when it comes to stopping North Korea’s nuclear program. These options include military actions if diplomacy fails. However, some people question the honesty of Tillerson’s statements.

For more than 20 years, the US have been trying to prevent North Korea from becoming a nuclear threat using diplomatic channels. According to Tillerson declarations, Trump’s Administration has an urgent more direct approach. However, China has pledged to solve this situation with dialogue to prevent conflict.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi as he arrives for talks at the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing on Saturday. Image Credit: South China Morning Post

U.S. actions towards North Korea are ambiguous

In 2003 North Korea decided to denounce the United Nation’s Non-Proliferation Treaty, which prevents countries from developing nuclear arms, except the P5. There has never been real control over nuclear material under North Korea’s domain since the state has never allowed inspections in its territory.

North Korea has always threatened to develop a nuclear program, which is of particular concern for South Korea, Japan and the rest of Western Civilization. North Korea nuclear stockpile hasn’t been determined yet; however, it is feared to be big enough to produce a disaster.

Though many declarations and sanctions have been made by the United States to condemn North Korea’s nuclear program, such as embargos, Kim Jong-un seems to remain focused on his nuclear plans. However, after years of failed attempts made by U.S. leaders to thwart North Korea’s nuclear aspirations, there appears to be a change with the Trump administration.

All options are on the table

During his Tour through Asia, Tillerson has said that all the possibilities regarding North Korea are on the table right now, including military actions. That means that the U.S might be willing to launch a single strike to halt missile launches. This would be a defensive strategy, and it wouldn’t prevent other missile launches.

Another option could be deploying a set of strikes to destroy North Korea’s arsenal, which would certainly delay its program; however, if the whole arsenal is not destroyed, this could lead to retaliation and a possible war.

A third option would be an armed conflict to replace the government in North Korea. Doing so in North Korea seems unlikely because it would not have the support from major powers such as Russia and China. As well, there is a potential threat from North Korea to use chemical and nuclear weapons, though their use is forbidden internationally.

There is no doubt about the U.S. military advantage in the world. However, North Korea acts as an irrational actor in the international system, willing to accept risks regardless of the lives and resources a conflict might involve. The cost North Korea is willing to bear is too high for other countries to take.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in Beijing. Image Credit: Lintao Zhang/Pool/Getty Images

China to the U.S: “we have to stay committed to diplomatic means.”

Though Tillerson has remarked the sense of urgency to do something about the current tensions on the Korean Peninsula, China has asked the U.S to remain “coolheaded” about it, and not to discard dialogue and diplomacy. On the other hand, Trump tweeted on Friday that China was not doing anything to prevent its ally from acting “very badly.”

“No matter what happens, we have to stay committed to diplomatic means as a way to seek peaceful settlement,” said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. “We hope all parties, including our friends from the United States, could size up the situation in a coolheaded and comprehensive fashion, and arrive at a wise decision.”

During Saturday’s joint press conference, Tillerson said that China and the U.S. have a common goal in the Korean Peninsula: its denuclearization. He also stated that they are trying to merge their endeavors to do everything they can to prevent any conflict from breaking out.

Last month, China decided to stop importing coal from North Korea, with the aim of reducing one of the most important financial sources of the regime. China also said in the press conference that the U.N should maintain its sanctions on North Korea. As well, Wang recommended U.N. Security Council resolutions to include “clear provisions for efforts to resume talks to de-escalate the tension and to safeguard stability on the peninsula.”

Tillerson assured that he would explore an array of diplomatic, economic and security measures to increase the pressure on Pyongyang to drive it to abandon its nuclear program. The U.S. might have been willing to take some military actions, but it stated that there are many steps to take before getting to that point.

Source: The Washington Post