U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged on Tuesday that he and President Donald Trump disagree over the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and said the two men discuss how to use the global agreement to advance administration policies.
"We do not seek an excuse to send our military north of the 38th parallel".
"We hope that, at some point, they will begin to understand that, and we would like to sit and have a dialogue with them about the future that will give them the security they seek and the future economic prosperity for North Korea, but that will then promote economic prosperity throughout Northeast Asia".
But he said he would like to have a dialogue with North Korean leaders at some point.
"He's told me that".
Asked about the SC senator's suggestion, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump has been "very outspoken" about "keeping all options on the table".
"Secretary Tillerson's travel reaffirms the Administration's commitment to further broaden and enhance U.S. economic and security interests in the Asia-Pacific region", the State Department said. "You can stop North Korea, militarily or diplomatically", he said on NBC's "Today Show". China can "influence the North Korean regime in ways that no one else can", he said.
"I am very disappointed in China. China could easily solve this problem", Trump thundered on Twitter on Saturday.
Tillerson said the US Congress decision to pass the sanctions bill had made attempts to thaw ties "more hard", but that "all the indications are" that Trump will sign it.
But here too, Tillerson was more diplomatic.
"And the question, I think, of the events of the last week or so, is it getting worse or can we maintain some level of stability in that relationship?" He says he and Trump have had policy disagreements, notably over the Iran nuclear deal, which the president opposes. He suggested the Trump administration may not continue to find Iran is in compliance with the multinational accord.
While the Trump administration is working with Russia in Syria to fight terrorists and develop cease-fire zones, the US position remains that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad - Russia's ally - can have "no role in the future governing of Syria" and that Iran's forces "must leave and go home".