"US diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops.": Rex Tillerson

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday that President Donald Trump had instructed him to continue diplomatic efforts to calm rising tensions with North Korea, saying "those diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops." That statement comes despite President Donald Trump's tweets a couple of weeks ago that his chief envoy was "wasting his time" trying to negotiate with " Rocket Man," a mocking nickname Trump has given the nuclear-armed nation's leader Kim Jong Un.

"I think he does want to be clear with Kim Jong-un and that regime in North Korea that he has military preparations ready to go and he has those military options on the table. And we have spent substantial time actually perfecting those," Tillerson told CNN's "State of the Union."

North Korea has conducted a series of nuclear tests in recent weeks and ago and launched two missiles over Japan. Tillerson has been in talks with China to obtain its help on getting North Korea to surrender.But Trump's recent Twitter messages appeared to undercut Tillerson's efforts, encouraging the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker to complain that Trump was publicly castrating Tillerson and hurting diplomatic talks.

Tillerson informed those tweets on Sunday, telling CNN that Trump and China's President Xi Jinping have an extremely close relationship and that China understands the U.S. position.

- Chavini Abhayasinghe

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