U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Friday there would not be many good options left on North Korea if the peaceful pressure campaign the United States has been pushing to curb Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs failed, APA reports quoting Reuters.
"We have not given up hope," Tillerson told reporters after U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met on the sidelines of a G20 summit, just days after North Korea conducted what it said was its first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
Tillerson said the U.S. approach of stepping up pressure on North Korea through sanctions required patience.
"I call it the peaceful pressure campaign ... This is a campaign to lead us to a peaceful resolution because if this fails, we don't have very many good options left," he said. "It's one that requires calculated increases in pressure, allow the regime to respond to that pressure, and it takes a little time to let these things happen."
The United States, Japan and South Korea agreed on Friday to push for a quick U.N. Security Council resolution to apply new sanctions on North Korea. U.N. diplomats said the United States had given China a draft sanctions resolution.
But Washington faces an uphill struggle to convince Russia and China to give quick backing to new U.N. sanctions.
Experts say North Korea's ICBM launch on Tuesday was a major step forward in its declared intent to create nuclear-tipped missiles capable of hitting the United States. Some U.S. experts say the missile appeared to have the range to hit Alaska, Hawaii and parts of the U.S. Pacific Northwest.
Washington has warned it is ready to use force if need be to stop North Korea's weapons programs but the consequences of that could be catastrophic and it prefers global diplomatic action.
Russia has said further sanctions will not resolve the issue and on Thursday objected to a U.N. Security Council condemnation of North Korea's launch because the U.S.-drafted statement labeled it an ICBM, a designation Moscow disagrees with. Diplomats said on Friday that negotiations on the statement had stalled.
Tillerson said Trump and Putin held differing views on how to deal with North Korea but that Washington would continue to press Moscow to help.
"We're going to continue those discussions and ask them to do more. Russia does have economic activity with North Korea," he said.