Washington has been paying Pyongyang “extortion money” for over two decades, US President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Wednesday.
According to Trump, the US has been in talks with North Korea all that time.
The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2017
Trump’s tweet comes following an official statement released by the White House, in which the president said that “all options are on the table” in regard to the current tensions in East Asia.
Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary James Mattis didn’t immediately exclude diplomacy when confronted by reporters Wednesday. “We are never out of diplomatic solutions,” Mattis said, as he headed to a meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Song Young-moo. “We continue to work together, and the minister and I share a responsibility to provide for the protection of our nations, our populations and our interests,” the US defense chief added.
On Tuesday, Pyongyang launched a ballistic missile which passed over Japan. Calling that move “threatening and destabilizing,” the US leader said North Korea “has signaled its contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior.”
Washington has sided with Tokyo and Seoul, with the three nations claiming they are facing a “grave and growing direct threat” from Pyongyang.
Meanwhile, other UN members – including Russia, China and Germany – have been pushing for a diplomatic solution. Moscow and Beijing insist that all sides should be listened to in order to resolve the Korean crisis, in which regard they are now supported by Berlin.
A “double freeze” initiative has been put forward, which seeks to ease military tensions on both sides. Under the proposal the US and South Korea would halt their joint military exercises in the region, in exchange for the North ceasing its missile launches. The US State Department has emphatically rejected the “double freeze” proposal.