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Tillerson Downplays Escalation of Rhetoric on North Korea

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tried to downplay on Wednesday comments made by President Donald Trump about North Korea.

Mr. Trump said on Tuesday that Pyongyang should stop making threats to the United States because they would be met “with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

The statement was met with criticism from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

Mr. Tillerson said the president was sending a message to Pyongyang in “language Kim Jong-un would understand.”

“I think the president, again, as commander-in-chief, I think he felt it necessary to issue a very strong statement directly to North Korea,” he stated.

Soon after Mr. Trump’s comments, North Korea’s state-run KCNA published a statement saying the country’s authorities were considering a pre-emptive missile strike on the U.S. territory of Guam that hosts a strategic naval base.

Mr. Tillerson said he had seen nothing that would indicate the situation on the Korean Peninsula had dramatically changed in the last 24 hours.

“I think Americans should sleep well at night. I have no concerns about this particular rhetoric of the last few days,” he stated.

George Charfauros, homeland security adviser to the governor of Guam, said in a news conference on Wednesday there was practically no chance that North Korea would successfully attack the territory protected by the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system.


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