Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke from the “Demilitarized Zone” (DMZ), the region separating North and South Korea, on Friday where he reiterated the United States’ support for our friends in South Korea and our wariness of the North Korean threat.
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 have repeatedly reassured North Korea’s leaders that we seek only peace, stability, and economic prosperity for Northeast Asia. As proof of our intent, America has provided $1.3 billion in assistance to North Korea since 1995. In return, North Korea has detonated nuclear weapons, and dramatically increased its launches of ballistic missiles to threaten America and our allies.
The U.S. commitment to our allies is unwavering. In the face of North Korea’s grave and escalating global threat, it is important for me to consult with our friends, and chart a path that secures the peace. Let me be very 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.