“Until the First Bomb Drops”: Tillerson to Continue Diplomacy with North Korea

© Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
© Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said its diplomatic efforts with Pyongyang will continue until the first bomb drops.

“Those diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops,” Tillerson said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Secretary Tillerson’s comments preceded the start of U.S.-South Korean joint drills deemed defensive in nature.

Although many military options are being envisioned by the U.S. administration, Tillerson said prioritizing diplomacy was still President Trump’s preferred avenue.

That said, Trump’s tweets doesn’t reflect that rhetoric. Trump tweeted that Tillerson was “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man (Kim Jong Un)


Tillerson also said that President Trump is “not seeking to go to war.” However, Trump threathened North Korea to totally destroy them during his remarks at the United Nations.

It is my understanding that President Trump and Secretary Tillerson sees different outcome for North Korea. Secretary Tillerson is still pursuing a diplomatic solution to de-escalate the tensions while President Trumps seems eager to annihilate the North Korean regime.

“I think I have a little bit of a different attitude on North Korea than other people might have. And I listen to everybody, but ultimately, my attitude is the one that matters, isn’t it?” Trump said. “That’s the way it works. That’s the way the system is.”

The problem is that millions of innocent civilians will be killed in collateral damage and a possible global conflict could erupt from an American military intervention.

That said, if North Korea doesn’t stop threatening the United States and its allies, it is playing with fire. The international community, including Russia and China, is becoming impatient and even more intolerant towards Pyongyang’s reckless attitude.

Russia reacts to Tillerson’s diplomacy

Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov
Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized North Korea’s attitude in regards to the violation of many United Nations Security Council resolutions.

“Pyongyang is acting in a provocative manner, seriously violating all the UN Security Council’s resolutions,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov also denounced the United States decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal stating it wouldn’t help in rectifying the situation with Pyongyang.

“The US is rejecting dialogue at this stage and indicates by withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal that agreements are worth nothing,” he noted. “How can one now anticipate North Korea to be interested in talks?”

“The US immediately introduces sanctions without any knowledge of the situation, but North Korea will not work under such terms as it will consider the US incapable of reaching agreements,” the top diplomat added.

However, Lavrov stressed that he is not trying to justify North Korea’s behavior by adding that Pyongyang has been acting “in a provocative way and is seriously violating all UN Security Council resolutions.”

Russia’s permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council enables them to act as one of the key mediator between the United States and North Korea. However, due to the failing diplomatic relations between Moscow and Washington, President Trump and his administration are most likely discarding Russia’s opinion on the matter.

The United Nations Security Council organization
The United Nations Security Council organization

Russia shares a common border with North Korea and a war would mean an important influx of North Koreans through their border. Adding to that, if the United States was to use nuclear weapons to destroy the North Korean regime, Moscow would have to prepare for a possible radiation poisoning issue depending on the size of the nuclear bomb used. The same goes with China who shares an even bigger border with North Korea.

In the meantime, the United States and South Korea launched it joint military drills by showcasing a show of force by sending four advanced fifth-generation fighter aircraft for an air show exhibit in Seoul. As a matter of fact, two F-22 Raptor and two F-35 Lightning II will take part in the air exhibition.

A USAF F-22 Raptor flies along a F-35 Lightning II
A USAF F-22 Raptor flies along a F-35 Lightning II

North Korea is allegedly moving transporter erector launcher (TEL) possibly armed with Hwasong-12 Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) for a possible launch. Last week, North Korea threatened the United States to launch a “salvo of missile” in the waters near Guam in reprisal for the joint military drills.

About Jonathan Wade, CD 60 Articles
Jonathan is decorated former light infantryman who served more than 14 years in the Canadian Forces. Deployed to Afghanistan as part of an embedded mentoring team with the Afghan National Army, Jonathan acquired exceptional leadership skills, culture appreciation as well as a detailed comprehension of the situation on the ground. After his career as a soldier, Jonathan founded The Sentinel Analytical Group (2014-2017), and later renamed the blog to Conflict Observer. His goal is to offer an alternative to mainstream media news with detailed analysis as well as offering vital technical informations for a better comprehension of the situation. Jonathan is also the media analyst for the “Centre sur la sécurité internationale” at the Laval University, a military and strategic analyst for “La Commission Gendron” as well as a project coordinator with the NATO Association of Canada. He is now studying at the Laval University in Russian studies, Political Science, and Arab studies. Jonathan speaks French, English and Russian (elementary). He is also working on Modern Standard Arabic. You can follow Jonathan on Twitter : @JonathanWadeCD. E-mail : jonathan.wade@conflictobserver.com