Jim Mattis: US ‘not looking to the total annihilation’ of North Korea, but can do it

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned Sunday of a “massive military response” if North Korea makes “any threat to the United States or its territories.”

Mattis gave a brief statement outside the White House after meeting with President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to discuss North Korea’s sixth and most powerful nuclear weapon test.

“We have many military options, and the president wanted to be briefed on each one of them,” he said.

“We made clear that we have the ability to defend ourselves and our allies, South Korea and Japan, from any attack, and our commitments among the allies are ironclad. Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam, or our allies will be met with a massive military response — a response both effective and overwhelming.”

“Kim Jong Un should take heed of the United Nations Security Council’s unified voice,” Mattis added. “All members unanimously agreed on the threat North Korea poses and remain unanimous in their commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

Before walking off, Mattis said: “We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea, but as I said, we have many options to do so. Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen.”

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon condemned the nuclear test, saying through a spokesperson that “[t]he DPRK is the only country that continues to break the norm against nuclear test explosions.” The U.N. Security Council has scheduled an emergency meeting.

Earlier in the day, Trump told reporters “we’ll see” in response to a shouted question about whether he would attack North Korea.

In an afternoon tweet, Trump suggested he was considering “in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called his South Korean counterpart and other officials in the region to discuss the nuclear test.

This post originally appeared on Washington Examiner


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