On his first trip to the Republic of Korea as Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson reaffirmed the ironclad alliance between the United States and South Korea. This relationship, he noted, serves as the linchpin for security and stability in the Korean Peninsula.
Emphasizing the United States’ unwavering commitment to its allies in the face of North Korea's grave and escalating global threat, Secretary Tillerson made clear, “the policy of strategic patience has ended. We are exploring a new range of diplomatic, security, and economic measures. All options are on the table. North Korea must understand that the only path to a secure, economically-prosperous future is to abandon its development of nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other weapons of mass destruction.”
“We stand together in facing what was once a regional security challenge, but today North Korea threatens not only its regional neighbors, but the United States and other countries. Efforts toward North Korea to achieve peaceful stability over the last two decades have failed to make us safer. The U.S. and our allies,” said Secretary Tillerson, “have repeatedly reassured North Korea's leaders that we seek only peace, stability, and economic prosperity for Northeast Asia.”
Mr. Tillerson called on other regional powers to join the United States in demanding that the North Korean government choose a different future for its people. “The United States is committed to supporting the defense of our allies, and we will continue to develop a comprehensive set of capabilities to counter the growing North Korean ballistic missile threat,” he said.
Secretary Tillerson highlighted the strong foundation on which the United States alliance with South Korea stands, noting that it is built “not only on security, but our commitment to our core principles that have enabled the success of our nations: a strong economic partnership, deep people-to-people ties, and democratic values.”