Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday there is not “any imminent threat” from North Korea, sending a message of reassurance a day after President Donald Trump threatened to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” on Pyongyang.
“Americans should sleep well at night,” Tillerson said, according to the Associated Press.
“What the president is doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong Un can understand, because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language,” Tillerson said Wednesday. “I think the president just wanted to be clear to the North Korean regime on the U.S. unquestionable ability to defend itself, will defend itself and its allies.”
Tillerson said he has not seen any evidence that the tense relationship between the two countries has “dramatically changed in the last 24 hours.”
His message differed starkly from Trump’s on Tuesday, when the president responded to escalating nuclear threats from North Korea with a warning of his own.
“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump said. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening, beyond a normal statement. And as I said, they will be met with fire, fury, and, frankly, power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
The U.N. Security Council approved new sanctions against North Korea on Saturday, a measure aimed at pressuring the country to negotiate on its nuclear program.