The US State Secretary said during a UN Security Council meeting that the US does not seek war with North Korea, but will do all that is necessary to defend itself.

Rex Tillerson

Rex Tillerson Photo credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

At a UN Security Council meeting on Friday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said North Korea must “earn its way back” to the negotiating table, appearing to backtrack on his offer of unconditional talks with Pyongyang.

“We have been clear that all options remain on the table in the defense of our nation,” Tillerson said. “But we do not seek, nor do we want, war with North Korea. The United States will use all necessary measures to defend itself against North Korean aggression, but our hope remains that diplomacy will produce a resolution.”

“As I said earlier this week, a sustained cessation of North Korea’s threatening behavior must occur before talks can begin,” he added. “North Korea must earn its way back to the table. The pressure campaign must and will continue, until denuclearization is achieved. We will in the meantime keep our channels of communication open.”

On Wednesday, Tillerson said the US was ready to begin direct talks with North Korea without preconditions.