Rex Tillerson over the last couple of days has been more visible, involved and has reversed what appeared to be a more reclusive public persona earlier in his tenure as Secretary of State. With the first major global crisis during the Trump administration being reported on Wednesday and swift retaliatory action the following day, we are seeing more of Tillerson as he crafts the State Department position on Assad’s inhumane act in real time.
Also on the plate are reports that the US has deployed warships to the Korean peninsula. Many critics of the previous administration’s policy of appeasement agree that more assertive and forceful action was necessary to send a message to countries who would violate international law in using chemical weapons (Syria), continue to conduct missile tests in violation of UN resolutions (Iran) or continuing to grow a nuclear program that has concerned leaders all over the globe (North Korea). North Korea is now thought to have around 10 nuclear weapons and enough nuclear material on hand to make up to 100 more.
We’ve Assembled a collection of quotations from Secretary Tillerson encompassing the moments after the chemical attack was reported to today’s Sunday news programming.
April 4th 2017
“North Korea launched yet another intermediate range ballistic missile. The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment”.
April 6th 2017
“We feel the strike itself was proportionate”
April 9th 2017
“Well, to our knowledge, we do not—we do not have any information that suggests that Russia was part of the military attack undertaken using the chemical weapons,”
“Russia has failed in that commitment,” regarding the UN ordered inspections of Syria for Chemical weapons, “And the result of their failure has led to the killing of more children and innocents.”
“I see no reason that there would be retaliation since the Russians were never targeted in this particular strike,” regarding whether Russia may look to attack the US. “It was a very deliberate, very proportional, and — and very targeted strike undertaken in response to the chemical weapons attack. And Russia was never part of the targeting.”
“I think it was a very useful and productive exchange,” regarding possible Chinese intervention in the matter of North Korea’s nuclear program, “President Xi clearly understands, and — and I think agrees, that the situation has intensified and has reached a certain level of threat that action has to be taken.”
“And, indeed, the Chinese, even themselves, have said that they do not believe the conditions are right today to engage in discussions with the government in Pyongyang,” Tillerson continued. “And so what I think we’re hopeful is that we can work together with the Chinese to change the conditions in the minds of—of the DPRK leadership. And then, at that point, perhaps discussions may be useful. But I think there’s a shared view and no disagreement as to how dangerous the situation has become. And I think even China is beginning to recognize that this presents a threat to even — to— to China’s interests as well.”
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