The United States is ready to put more sanctions on North Korea if Pyongyang continues to carry out missile launches and nuclear tests, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in his address to department employees on Wednesday.
The United States said on Wednesday that it hopes to work with China to halt North Korea's nuclear program, but warned that if this fails it might resort to sanctions.
"We told them we're watching what you're doing, when we see you not implementing, we see companies, we see individuals that are violating these sanctions, we're going to contact you, we're going to ask you to take care of it", Tillerson said.
United States foreign policy, Tillerson said, is guided by fundamental values, but he cautioned: "If we condition too heavily that others must adopt this value that we've come to over a long history of our own, it really creates obstacles to our ability to advance our national security interests, our economic interests".
Tillerson followed the comments by saying that the U.S.is not interested in regime change, regime collapse, the accelerated unification of the peninsula or looking for an excuse to invade North Korea. "But that doesn't mean that's the case in every situation".
The Trump administration also has not named candidates for the vast majority of State Department positions requiring Senate confirmation, and many are being filled by career diplomats in "acting" positions.
In the most thorough explanation yet of the Trump administration's foreign policy views, Tillerson said USA foreign policy priorities had gotten "a little bit out of balance" in the previous decades.
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The US is "leaning hard into China to test their willingness to use their influence", he said. "I don't know whether we can or not".
Relations with Russian Federation are a particular flashpoint.
Last month, Trump was the first world leader to place a congratulatory phone call to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, even as the results were contested on the measure, which critics say could severely diminish Turkey's democratic institutions.
He and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet next week on the margins of a meeting of the Arctic Council in Alaska. He says up first is Syria.
During his remarks to State staffers, Tillerson also reiterated that the administration is considering broadly restructuring the department, but offered no details on what that might look like.
Instead of talking specifics, Tillerson said the department's leadership is in an initial phase of soliciting input through a recently announced "listening exercise" involving an employee survey, and he alluded to moving on to a second phase - presumably the restructuring - from there.
The Trump administration plans to cut 2,300 jobs at the State Department as it whittles the agency's budget down to just over $50 billion.