US secretary of state Rex Tillerson said Washington is prepared to use force against North Korea, the day after Steve Bannon, the administration’s chief strategist, said there is no military solution and dismissed the country as a “sideshow.” Tillerson and US defense secretary Jim Mattis sought to present a united front on Thursday, speaking to reporters alongside their Japanese counterparts following talks. They vowed to honor mutual defense agreements and signaled enhanced military co-operation in a bid to stem North Korea’s fast-advancing missile program. “We’re prepared militarily, we’re prepared with our allies, to respond if that is necessary,” said Tillerson. “That is not our preferred pathway and that’s been made clear as well.” According to the Financial Times, the US is struggling to stitch together an international coalition that will successfully deter North Korea from its nuclear ambitions after the regime conducted a string of new missile tests, including a long-range missile last month that could target the US.
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