Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Friday for tougher sanctions — aimed mainly at China and other countries that continue to trade with North Korea — as a way to pressure Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear program. Tillerson, who chaired a special meeting of the United Nations Security Council, said the U.S. prefers a diplomatic solution. However, he stressed the U.S. reserves the option of military action to counteract North Korean aggression if necessary.

“All options for responding to future provocations must remain on the table,” he said. “Diplomatic and financial levers of power will be backed up by willingness to counteract North Korean aggression with military action, if necessary.” It was a stern speech calling for united diplomatic and economic action — and ramping up the pressure on China, North Korea’s economic lifeline. Tillerson was slated to meet with the Chinese foreign minister later on Friday. “Our goal is not regime change,” Tillerson said, nor does the U.S. want to destabilize the region. FULL REPORT