Tillerson: We will wait as long as North Korean threat is 'manageable'

Tillerson: We will wait as long as North Korean threat is 'manageable'
© Getty

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday said that the White House will be patient as long as the North Korean threat is "manageable."

"Well, we've got to see a real change on the part of the posture of the regime in North Korea. ... We will wait as long as it takes, as long as the threat is manageable," Tillerson said during an interview on Fox News's "Special Report with Bret Baier."

Tillerson also said that studies have indicated that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un makes rational decisions and is not unstable.

ADVERTISEMENT

“All indications, Bret, by intelligence agencies ... are that he is not crazy. He may be ruthless, he may be a murderer, he may be someone who in many respects we would say by our standards is irrational, but he is not insane," Tillerson said.  
"And indications are in the past that when certain events have happened, he has ... made rational choices."
 
According to the top U.S. diplomat, Washington's strategy toward North Korea will consist of urging the international community to play a bigger role in pressuring Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
 
Tillerson also maintained that the U.S. will attempt to change North Korea's reasoning that pursuing a nuclear program is the only way to ensure the country's survival.
 
"The regime in the past has indicated that the reason they pursue the nuclear weapons is they feel that is the only way to ensure their survival as a regime. We want to change that view of theirs. We want to change that calculus," Tillerson told Fox News.

"We have said to them that your pathway to survival and security is to eliminate your nuclear weapons, and we and other countries will be prepared to help you on a pathway of economic development," he added.

Tillerson also noted that the U.S. is prepared to test China's willingness to help Washington with North Korea and underscored that the White House is not seeking a change in the nation's administration.

"We have been very clear: We do not seek regime change in North Korea. We are not seeking a collapse of the regime; we are not seeking to find some excuse for an execrated reunification of the peninsula. What we are seeking is the same thing China has said they seek — a full denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," he said.