“Americans should sleep well at night,” said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Wednesday following a tense war of words between President Trump and the North Korean state.
Downplaying the threat of armed conflict, Tillerson struck a markedly different tone than the Commander-in-Chief, who claimed Tuesday that he would unleash “fire and fury” upon North Korea if the regime continued to threaten the United States.
According to America’s top diplomat, war is not imminent, despite the “rhetoric” emerging from the White House.
“Nothing I have seen and nothing I know of would indicate that the situation has dramatically changed in the last 24 hours,” asserted Tillerson, adding that Americans should “have no concerns about this particular rhetoric of the last few days.”
Tillerson’s statement was underscored by the symbolic weight of the location in which he delivered his remarks. Notably, the Secretary of State spoke to reporters at a fueling station in Guam, the same U.S. territory the North Korean military threatened to strike with Hwasong-12 missiles only several hours prior to Tillerson’s arrival.
While Tillerson’s remarks were seemingly designed to offset Trump’s harsh “rhetoric” for a domestic American audience, he still defended the strategic value of “sending a strong message” to Kim Jong-Un in language he “would understand.” The North Korean dictatorship “doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language,” America’s top diplomat argued before further hammering home the point that the United States is willing to strike the rogue regime if necessary.
“I think the president just wanted to be clear to the North Korean regime that the U.S. has unquestionable ability to defend itself, will defend itself and its allies, and I think it was important that he deliver that message to avoid any miscalculation on their part,” Tillerson concluded.