American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson began his first international trip since being appointed in Tokyo on Thursday, where he met with Japan’s foreign minister, Fumio Kishida.  In his remarks to the press after their meeting, Tillerson placed North Korea at the forefront of his agenda, making remarks that are sure to reverberate throughout the reclusive Asian nation.

“I think it’s important to recognize that the diplomatic and other efforts of the past twenty years to bring North Korea to a point of denuclearization have failed.  We have twenty years of failed approach.”  Tillerson said to reporters on the scene.

Tillerson also pointed out that throughout those twenty years of “failed” efforts, the United States has provided North Korea with $1.35 billion in aid intended to encourage the nation and its leaders to abandon their pursuit of developing nuclear weapons.

In 1994, a deal was brokered between North Korea and the United States in which the U.S. agreed to provide the nation with aid and two proliferation-resistant nuclear power plants in exchange for an immediate halt and eventual dismantling of their nuclear weapons program.  The deal dissolved in 2002, and despite repeated efforts in the years since, neither the United States nor its international partners have made any headway in discouraging North Korea from developing nukes, particularly since Kim Jong Un took control after his father, Kim Jong Il, died.

“In the face of this ever escalating threat, it is clear that a different approach is required.” Tillerson said.

Tillerson declined to go into detail regarding just what a new approach may entail, explaining instead that part of the purpose of his visit was to discuss options with his Japanese counterpart.  President Trump and his staff are said to be currently amidst a review of America’s North Korean policy, with some on Capitol Hill championing “kinetic options” – a polite phrase that means direct military intervention.

In Beijing, the North Korean embassy also held a press conference, in which North Korean Minister Pak Myong-ho levied another round of accusations at the United States and South Korea for their ongoing military exercises intended to prepare military forces in the region for a potential attack by North Korean forces.

“The joint military exercises by the hostile forces are aimed at preemptive strikes against the DPRK,” Minister Pak Myong-ho said. “Therefore, the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula is under serious threat.  Now the situation is already on the brink of nuclear war.”