President Donald Trump is ramping up his war of words with North Korea again, telling the isolated communist country that “talking is not the answer” and rejecting negotiating with Pyongyang. His tweet contradicts comments made by his own Secretary of State before North Korea launched a missile over Japan on Tuesday.
“The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer,” Trump wrote.
However, this tweet contradicts Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who said on August 27 that negotiating with North Korea was still an option. Tillerson made his comments before the Tuesday missile launch.
“We’re going to continue our peaceful pressure campaign, as I have described it, working with allies, working with China as well, to see if we can bring the regime in Pyongyang to the negotiating table with a view to begin a dialog on a different future for Korean peninsula and North Korea,” Tillerson told Fox News on Sunday.
In that same interview, Tillerson surprised anchor Chris Wallace by saying that the “president speaks for himself” when asked about Trump’s values compared to the values of the American people.
Trump’s tweet also follows North Korea’s latest missile launch on Tuesday, which sailed over Japan’s Hokkaido island and landed nearly 1,700 feet away. It’s believed that the rocket the North Koreans launched was a Hwasong-12, like the ones they threatened to launch near Guam.
In response to that launch, Trump spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to continue to show the U.S.’ support for its ally. He also issued a statement, in which he said, “The world has received North Korea’s latest message loud and clear: this regime has signaled its contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior.” He added, “All options are on the table” for dealing with North Korea.
After the launch, Tillerson called his counterparts in South Korea and Japan to assure them that the U.S. stands by their allies. “They agreed the launch was an escalation of North Korean provocations and showcased the dangerous threat post by North Korea to the United States, Japan, the ROK and countries around the world,” a readout of the calls reads.
On Saturday, Bloomberg reported that North Korea launched three short-range missiles. Two flew 155 miles, while the other one blew up immediately, U.S. Pacific Command said.
Tillerson told Fox News Sunday that the administration viewed those missile launches as a “provocative act” and “a violation of UN Security Council resolutions.”