As Defense Secretary James Mattis continues his tour in South Korea, he made clear that the United states would not tolerate any further continuation of North Korea’s nuclear development.
Newsweek reports Mattis erased all doubt whether the US would be willing to use military force:
“Make no mistake—any attack on the United States or our allies will be defeated,” Mattis said at a joint press conference with Song Young-moo, his South Korean counterpart.
“Any use of nuclear weapons by the North will be met with a massive military response, effective and overwhelming,” Mattis added. “I cannot imagine a condition under which the United States will accept North Korea as a nuclear power.”
Mattis said threatening military use could spur diplomatic conversations:
Trump’s top defense official is on a two-day visit to South Korea to discuss military matters as tensions continue to rise on the Korean peninsula.
He said that diplomacy and negotiations were still a “preferred course of action” but said that the ability to wield strong military power made for a situation in which “our diplomats are most effective.”
North Korea shows no sign in slowing down their nuclear program, even threatening to attack South Korea’s capital city:
Pyongyang has threatened to further test hydrogen bombs and missiles over the Pacific as part of its bid to advance its nuclear programme. But Song warned Mattis that Seoul would be unable to defend against the artillery that its northern neighbor had amassed along its border with the South.
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The North Korean artillery at Kaesong that sits along the DMZ is located just 30 miles from Seoul, a city of 25 million people, and well within range of the weapons.
But 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea and Mattis warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that his regime was “overmatched” by U.S. and South Korean military power.
President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit South Korea next month:
The president will visit South Korea next month as part of a wider tour of Asia that will take in Japan, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. He will visit a U.S. military base between November 7 and 8, and will likely make an address to the South Korean parliament and hold meetings with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in.