Defense Secretary James Mattis warned North Korea on Saturday that it can either change course or face defeat.
“Make no mistake,” he said, “any attack on the United States or our allies will be defeated, and any use of nuclear weapons by the North will be met with a massive military response that is effective and overwhelming.
Mattis spoke during a news conference and was accompanied by South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo, Fox News reported.
Although Mattis did not go beyond his past policy statements, he admitted the situation in becoming more dire because North Korea engages in “outlaw” behavior.
“North Korea has accelerated the threat that it poses to its neighbors and the world through its illegal and unnecessary missile and nuclear weapons programs,” he said.
Citing CIA sources, Reuters reported North Korea could be months away from being capable of reaching most of the U.S. mainland with a nuclear strike.
Mattis said America has limits to what it will accept.
“I cannot imagine a condition under which the United States would accept North Korea as a nuclear power,” he said.
Further, Mattis said that by building up its nuclear missile program, North Korea risks losing the security it claims the missile program is designed to foster.
“If it remains on its current path of ballistic missiles and atomic bombs, it will be counterproductive, in effect reducing its security,” he said.
On Friday, Mattis visited the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea.
During the visit, Song pointed to North Korea’s artillery, which is massed near the DMZ to attack the South in the event of hostilities.
Song told Mattis it would “unfeasible” to defend against them.
“Understood,” Mattis replied, according to The Washington Post.
Mattis said Saturday there are military options that “realistically reduce that threat (to South Korea) as low as possible.”
“And yes, we do have those options,” he added.
Image and Content: Western Journalism