Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave remarks at a special session of the United Nations Security Council Friday calling for economic sanctions on North Korea and other measures urging “this council to act before North Korea does.”
"With each successive detonation and missile test North Korea pushes northeast Asia and the world closer to instability and broader conflict," Tillerson warned the council. "The threat of a North Korean attack on Seoul or Tokyo is real."
"I urge this council to act before North Korea does,” Tillerson emphasized. “We must work together to adopt a new approach and impose increased diplomatic and economic pressures on the North Korean regime."
Tillerson also called on the nations to "suspend or downgrade" diplomatic relations with North Korea, saying the country "exploits its diplomatic privileges" to fund its nuclear and missile program.
"Diplomatic and financial levers of power will be backed up by willingness to counteract North Korean aggression with military action, if necessary," Tillerson added.
"Failing to act now on the most pressing security issue in the world may bring catastrophic consequences,” he warned.
Tillerson said that North Korea “must take concrete steps to reduce the threat that its illegal weapons programs pose to the United States and our allies before we can even consider talks.”
President Trump warned Thursday that a “major, major conflict” with North Korea is possible in an interview with Reuters, but added that the administration would “love to solve things diplomatically but it’s very difficult.”