- Top US officials haven't been consistent on North Korea policy, analysts say
- On July 28 North Korea tested missile that could potentially hit US mainland
Hong Kong (CNN)US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson heads to Asia later this week for a regional meeting on security issues, which is expected to be attended by ministers from North Korea, China, South Korea and Japan.
- Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham , an important member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said a military response to Pyongyang's weapons program is "inevitable if North Korea continues." He also said President Trump promised him "if there's going to be a war to stop them, it will be over there. If thousands die, they're going to die over there, they're not going to die here and (President Donald Trump) told me that to my face."
- What's been said before: US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said in May that war on the Korean Peninsula would be "tragic on an unbelievable scale." Analysts say that Trump's promise to Graham would be a violation of the spirit of the mutual defense treaty between the two countries. "The comments were extremely irresponsible. It's a dangerous sign to our allies that we don't have their best interests in heart," Mount said. "We stand up for our allies because we believe that the lives of allied citizens are as valuable as the lives of American citizens."
- Secretary Tillerson told reporters at a briefing Tuesday that the United States was willing to sit down and negotiate with North Korea if it were to abandon its nuclear weapons and missile programs and give up those missiles. "We do not seek regime change. We do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula. We do not seek an excuse to send our military north of the 38th parallel," Tillerson said. "We would like to sit and have a dialogue about the future."
- What's been said before: Ambassador Nikki Haley, the US representative to the United Nations, said the "time for talk is over" after the Friday missile test, though she was referring to the UN Security Council rather than direct talks involving the hermit state. Speaking last month at an annual security forum in the Aspen, Colorado, CIA Director Mike Pompeo said "it would be a great thing to denuclearize the peninsula, to get those weapons off of that, but the thing that is most dangerous about it is the character who holds the control over them today. So from the administration's perspective, the most important thing we can do is separate those two," Pompeo said, hinting at the idea of regime change in North Korea, albeit in a very opaque manner.
- Secretary Tillerson also said Tuesday that the United States doesn't blame Beijing -- Pyongyang's most important ally and trading partner -- for the current situation with North Korea, but noted that "China has a special and unique relationship because of this significant economic activity to influence the North Korean regime in ways that no one else can
- What's been said before: President Trump took to Twitter to slam the Chinese after the Friday missile test for not doing enough to rein in their neighbor. "They do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue China could easily solve this problem!" he said. Though the comments don't directly contradict what Tillerson said, the tones are strikingly different.