The Trump administration has also thrown its weight behind confronting violent Central American gangs, most notably the MS-13 gang - brandishing it as a poster-child for the dangers of illegal immigration.
Russia's intent to expel 755 US diplomats and seizure of two USA properties in Russian Federation has put relations between the two countries "under considerable stress", said Tillerson at a Tuesday press conference at the State Department.
"We do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula", Tillerson said.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson surprised reporters at the State Department Tuesday by joining their daily briefing for the first time, laying out his vision for USA foreign policy for North Korea, Venezuela, China, the Middle East, Russia and Ukraine, among other hot spots. "And then we'll just work with it", Tillerson added.
NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell asked Tillerson at a press briefing about the president's Twitter use, how hard his tweets have made things for diplomats at the State Department, and if Trump's appointment of John Kelly as his new chief of staff will help bring stability to the White House.
Tillerson added that the United States hopes that "at some point", North Korea will understand and sit down for a dialogue.
Tillerson likely will meet while in Asia with China's foreign minister, Thornton said, just as the US presses Beijing to isolate North Korea by reducing its economic and other ties.
The second authority Tillerson took back from the undersecretary for political affairs in July was approval of State Department reports to Congress, which will now sit with the Office of Policy Planning, an internal State Department body usually headed by a political appointee.
Donald Trump is playing his usual hardball negotiating game, he has enough firepower at North Korea's doorstep to launch and win World War 3 in a day, now that he is ready he has held out an olive branch to the North Korean leader. "Of course, it makes our life more hard", he said.
The assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere, covering Latin America and Canada, could play an outsized role in US foreign policy given the Donald Trump administration's fixation on immigration issues from Latin America, trade deals with its closest neighbors, and the unraveling crisis in Venezuela. "We will no longer allow this to continue China could easily solve this problem!" he said.
"He felt he had to do something", Tillerson said of Putin.
But he made it clear that there was no possibility of talks if North Korea did not abandon its nuclear programme.
Analysts worry that the contradictory messaging and the United States' failure to grasp that North Korea's ability to nuke the United States is no longer just theoretical is risky. So that's really what the objective that we are about is. "We (Americans) always treat North Korea like it's some kind of joke".