As tensions continue to ratchet up with North Korea, the U.S.is considering shooting down a North Korean ballistic missile even if it does not directly threaten the USA or its allies. The United Nations (U.N.) Security Council passed ever-stricter sanctions on North Korea last week on Monday.
The actions follow North Korea's test of a middle-range missile which flew over Japan Friday.
The bottom line, he said, is that if the missiles were a threat to Guam or Japan, "that would elicit a different response from us".
"Rogue regimes may have persuaded themselves that they pursue nuclear weapons to establish and enhance their security and prestige, but in fact nuclear weapons are more likely to undermine both", Tillerson said, before delving into the North Korean nuclear issue.
North Korea warned against the move and said South Korea is "digging up their own graves".
An emergency management official says Hawaii would face thousands of casualties and severe infrastructure damage from a North Korean missile. It said the operation showed the seriousness with which it took North Korea's "reckless behavior".
Pyongyang has launched dozens of missiles as it accelerates a weapons programme created to provide the ability to target the United States with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile.
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, a watchdog group that works to end nuclear testing worldwide, said there were two seismic events Saturday in North Korea, neither of very large magnitude.
Pyongyang conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test on September 3 and has threatened to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific.
The quake came after days of increasingly bellicose rhetoric between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's regime, as worldwide alarm mounts over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.
Since the launch, South Korea has been on high alert.
"It was a long call, it was a very good call", Trump said during remarks at a dinner for Latin American leaders on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in NY.
Seoul's Unification Ministry said Friday neither of the two men who ruled North Korea before Kim Jong Un - his father, Kim Jong Il, and his grandfather and national founder Kim Il Sung - issued any similar statement. North Korea has one nuclear test site - Punggye-ri.
"So he is being tested with the sanctions, voices from every corner of the world".
Ri made the comment to reporters at the United Nations and added that any potential action would have to be approved by Kim Jong Un.
The patrols came after officials and experts said a small quake near North Korea's nuclear test site on Saturday was probably not man-made, easing fears Pyongyang had exploded another nuclear bomb just weeks after its last one.
China and Russian Federation have called for a diplomatic solution and restarting talks.