Tillerson, Mattis say military option on table

FILE - In this Friday, March 27, 2015 file photo, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson delivers remarks on the release of a report by the National Petroleum Council on oil drilling in the Arctic, in Washington. President-elect Donald Trump selected Tillerson to lead the State Department on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)


WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis are stressing there is a credible threat of U.S. military action against North Korea.

This follows comments from President Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon who said on Wednesday that there’s no military solution to the North Korean threat because of the risk posed by its conventional forces arrayed against South Korea.

Tillerson declined to respond directly to Bannon’s comments when asked about it after security talks on Thursday with another U.S. ally, Japan. But he said the campaign of economic and diplomatic pressure against North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs needs to be backed by “strong military consequences if North Korea chooses wrongly.”

Tillerson said the U.S. is “prepared militarily” to respond if necessary.

Mattis joined Tillerson in hosting top officials from Japan, and he echoed Tillerson’s comments on the threat of military action.

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