Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
praises his boss’s policy towards North Korea
, vowing to continue diplomacy “until the first bomb drops.”
The US top diplomat made the comments in an interview with CNN on Sunday.
“Those diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops,” Tillerson said. “The president has also made clear to me that he wants this solved diplomatically… He is not seeking to go to war.”
Since US President Donald Trump assumed office in January, his administration has been battered by various scandals and dismissals.
Relations between Trump and the former ExxonMobil CEO went sour after the president said in a tweet several weeks ago that Tillerson was “wasting his time” by trying to negotiate with North Korea.
The president’s comments came right after Tillerson announced from the Chinese capital Beijing that he had direct lines of communication with North Korea and was seeking to cool tensions.
In his Sunday appearance on the US news
media channel, Tillerson further praised the president for “implementing of sanctions and the implementing of diplomatic pressure,” against Pyongyang.
“We now have the most comprehensive sanctions in place that have ever been put in place to strangle the North Korean regime’s economic revenue streams.”
During a TV interview with NBC on Friday, General Barry McCaffrey said Trump could be at war with the North by summer.
“Something has to be said here. I think the president has lost almost all credibility with the international community. They’re going to wait him out. So I wouldn’t overstate the damage he’s doing,” said the highly respected general. “The problem is we’ve got so many crises going on now, potentially, that he’s overloading the diplomatic effort, as well as the US armed forces’ ability to deal with it.”
“I don’t want us to take our eye off North Korea. The current language out of the administration, that lack of a diplomatic and serious engagement strategy, in my view, has us sliding toward war by next summer,” the retired general said.
Tensions escalated between the two countries after Trump warned to “totally destroy” North Korea during a speech to the UN General Assembly last month.