North Korea has been the most perplexing foreign policy problem facing the Trump administration in its first year in office, with their now repeated missile tests and one nuclear test putting pressure on the President to have a plan should tensions escalate. "There's a dismissal of global concern, unified UN Security Council concerns", he said. North Korea also has the world's largest standing army.
"An increasingly aggressive and isolated regime in North Korea threatens democracies in South Korea, Japan, and more importantly, and more recently, has expanded those threats to the United States, endangering the entire world", Tillerson told the Community of Democracies on Friday.
Experts have long questioned if the US could indeed attack North Korea, given its ability to cause massive casualties south of the border.
Also on the agenda: the Iran nuclear deal, Mideast peace, and United Nations reform efforts.
McMaster sent a mixed message on Friday, insisting that the United States retained a "military option" in dealing with North Korea even while calling on "everyone to do everything we can to address the global problem short of war". "There's no military solution here, they got us".
"We ought to make clear what's different about this approach is that we're out of time", McMaster said.
The South Korean military responded to the provocation from the North by launching a Hyunmoo-II missile into the sea that traveled the distance it would take to reach the Sunan airfield in Pyongyang, according to a military spokesman.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for new sanctions "to be firmly imposed" in response to the latest North Korean missile test that violated Japanese airspace.
North Korea said earlier this month it was developing a hydrogen bomb that could carry out an EMP attack. "China and Russian Federation must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own", Tillerson said. "The members of the Security Council strongly condemned these launches, condemned further North Korea for its outrageous actions, and demanded that North Korea immediately cease all such actions", the Security Council said in a statement after an emergency meeting.
"We call on all nations to take new measures against the Kim [Jong Un] regime", the top USA diplomat said.
The ambassador said she has "no problem kicking it to Gen. Mattis", the U.S. Defense Secretary, because "I think he has plenty of options".
"After seeing your capabilities and commitment here today, I am more confident than ever that our options in addressing this threat are both effective and overwhelming", Trump said in his address to air force personnel and families on the 70th anniversary of the US Air Force. North Korea is closer than ever to its goal of building a military arsenal that can viably target both US troops in Asia and the American homeland.