The U.N. chief warned at a ministerial meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Friday that "the risk is being multiplied by misplaced over-confidence, risky narratives and rhetoric, and the lack of communication channels". The Council has struggled to contain North Korea as the country continues to violate sanctions-backed United Nations calls on.
Tillerson repeated that "we do not seek, nor do we want, war with North Korea".
He stated that there is "no daylight between the President's policy and the pursuit of that policy" on North Korea, addressing questions about a possible rift between the White House and State Department on starting talks with Pyongyang.
The top USA diplomat, who met Thursday with Trump and Defense Secretary James Mattis, urged countries in the room to do more than just meet the letter of UN Security Council resolutions sanctioning North Korea - and called out Moscow and Beijing in particular.
Tillerson said North Korea must be "held accountable" for illegal detonation of nuclear devices and launching intercontinental ballistic missiles. On Wednesday, a National Security Council spokesman said North Korea must not only first refrain from provocations but also take "sincere and meaningful actions toward denuclearization" for talks to happen.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the North Korean nuclear crisis the world's "most tense and unsafe security issue", and without identifying the U.S. by name, warned of the risk of bellicose language.More news: Putin thanks Trump for CIA's help in stopping terror attacks
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Anxieties about United States power could combine with a crippled economy and the loss of China and Russian Federation as allies to force the belligerent autocracy to cool down its nuclear programme. "And we hope they will agree to have a dialogue", he told reporters in Bangkok. "We do not regard this claim as an empty threat".
Tillerson called on the two world powers with the closest economic ties to North Korea to increase pressure over the pariah nation's nuclear and missile programs, and go beyond full implementation of U.N. sanctions.
Singling out China, Pyongyang's sole ally, and Russia, Tillerson urged Beijing and Moscow to go beyond the current tough United Nations sanctions resolutions and impose unilateral measures.
Guterres urged an immediate re-establishment and strengthening of communication, saying it was "critical to lower the risk of miscalculation or misunderstanding and reduce tensions in the region".
Tillerson was addressing the U.N. Security Council Friday.
But the waves of multilateral and direct USA sanctions that have been imposed on Kim Jong Un's regime following its missile launches and nuclear tests have now made operations so hard that some agencies are pulling out.