By Arul Louis
United Nations, Dec 15 (IANS) US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reiterated on Friday Washington’s warning that “all options are on the table” to meet North Korea’s nuclear threat while offering to keep the lines of communication with Pyongyang open.
“The United States will use all measures necessary to defend itself,” Tillerson told a high-level Security Council session on North Korea presided by Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono.
“We will, meanwhile, keep our channels of communication open,” he added.
While the US did not want war, “all options are on the table” to meet any eventuality, he said.
In its latest attempt to raise the threat level, on November 29, North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that landed off Japan’s coast within its economic exclusive zone. The missile is said to be capable of hitting targets anywhere in the US.
Tillerson asked all countries to join in pressuring Pyongyang to de-nuclearise because its missile and unclear programmes were a threat to the entire world.
Earlier, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told the Council: “The situation on the Korean Peninsula is the most tense and dangerous peace and security issue in the world today.”
“I am deeply concerned by the risk of military confrontation, including as a result of unintended escalation or miscalculation,” he said.
Guterres said that “misplaced over-confidence, dangerous narratives and rhetoric, and the lack of communication channels” is raising the dangers of a conflict from an “accidental escalation”.
“Any military action would have devastating and unpredictable consequences,” he said.
“It is time to immediately re-establish and strengthen communication channels, including inter-Korean and military to military channels,” he said, adding that Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman visited North Korea for the first in-depth political exchange of views between the UN and Pyongyang in almost eight years.
Guterres asked to the Council to act unitedly to contain Pyongyang and resolve the problem peacefully through diplomatic efforts.
(Arul Louis can be reached at email@example.com)