The comment came in remarks to reporters at the White House Tuesday after North Korea launched a ballistic missile 2,800 miles into space for an estimated 50 minutes, a U.S. official said.
The North Korean test was the country’s 15th missile launch of the year and its third test of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
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Other administration officials were quick to issue reactions of their own, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson whose spokesperson labeled the test a “disappointment,” but left open the possibility of a diplomatic solution.
“The DPRK’s relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them must be reversed. Together the international community must continue to send a unified message to North Korea that the DPRK must abandon its WMD programs,” read a statement from Tillerson, adding, “Diplomatic options remain viable and open, for now. The United States remains committed to finding a peaceful path to denuclearization and to ending belligerent actions by North Korea.”
Negotiation with North Korea was likely on the minds of other cabinet officials during the country’s 75-day missile testing drought.
Earlier in November, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said that “as long as they stop testing, stop developing, they don’t export their weapons, there would be opportunity for talks,” according to a Reuters report.
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster shared a similar sentiment on Nov. 2 when he addressed reporters at the White House briefing room.
“I think we have to be a little patient here for at least a few months to see what more we and others can do, including China,” McMaster said. “I don’t think we need to reassess our strategy now. I think we have to give it a couple of months, a few months, and then see what adjustments we might need to make.”