According to Press TV, the former ExxonMobil CEO made the comments after US President Donald Trump declared North Korea a state sponsor of terror on Monday.
“We still hope for diplomacy,” Tillerson told a White House press conference. “This is all part of continuing to turn this pressure up.”
He further bragged about measures to confront North Korea, asserting that they have had a “significant effect.”
Earlier in the day, Trump announced that North Korea was being restored to the US blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism.
The measure, the US secretary of state argued, would dissuade third-party entities from doing business with the hermit state.
“The practical effect of it is … it may though disrupt, and dissuade some third parties from undertaking certain activities with North Korea, as it does impose prohibition on a number of other activities that may not be covered by existing sanctions,” he said.
Tillerson also claim that he was aware of a number of executions in the inner circle of North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un.
The stand-off over North Korea escalated in July when it test-fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles that experts say can reach the mainland United States. Pyongyang also carried out its most powerful nuclear test in August, prompting the US and allies to pile more economic and military pressures on the country.
The North Korean leader says Pyongyang’s nuclear program is a powerful deterrent in the face of threats by US imperialists.