Defense Secretary Jim Mattis reiterated that the United States
will not accept a nuclear-armed North Korea.
Mattis spoke at
a news conference following talks with South Korean Minister of
National Defense Song Young-moo in Seoul on October 27, 2017.
The two men met for the 49th annual Security Consultative
Meeting in the shadow of North Korea’s continuing nuclear program
and following launches of its intercontinental ballistic missiles.
“In light of [North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s] expanded
outlaw activities that all the world experienced and observed over
the past year or two, I cannot imagine a condition under which the
United States would accept North Korea as a nuclear power,” Mattis
Serious North Korean
The secretary said the threat from North
Korea, also known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, has
grown more serious since his trip to the country earlier this year.
October 27, 2017 - Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, center, and Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford,
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at left, participate in the
49th Security Consultative meeting in Seoul, Republic of Korea. (DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro)
“In the past few months, the North has conducted two ICBM
tests, launched two intermediate range ballistic missiles
over Japan and conducted a fifth nuclear test,” Mattis said.
“I am here to underscore America’s commitment to our
bilateral alliance and to make clear the Trump
Administration’s full commitment to the United Nations’
mission in defense of your democracy standing, as it does,
as a bedrock countering the DPRK’s effort to destabilize
this region and to threaten the world.”
U.S. Supports South Korean
Mattis emphasized that the United
States stands by its alliance with South Korea, also known
as the Republic of Korea, and also emphasized that the
military aspect of the alliance is engaged to allow
diplomatic and economic efforts to work.
[Donald J.] Trump has made clear that America’s commitments
to defending our allies and to upholding our extended
deterrence guarantee is ‘ironclad,’” the secretary said.
The secretary said that America’s strategic
deterrent capabilities are global in their positioning and reach,
“and we are quite assured that they are in a position to be
responsive to the Combined Forces Commander, if necessary.”
North Korea should harbor no illusions, Mattis said. “The DPRK is
overmatched by the Republic of Korea-United States alliance,” the
secretary said. “If it remains on its current path of ballistic
missiles and atomic bombs, it will be counterproductive. The DPRK
will be reducing its own security.”
‘Any Attempt’ on U.S.,
Allies, ‘Will be Defeated’
“Diplomacy remains our preferred
course of action, but as I have repeatedly emphasized, our diplomats
are most effective when backed by credible military force in this
sort of situation,” Mattis said.
“Make no mistake: Any
attempt on the United States or our allies will be defeated,” he
added. “Any use of nuclear weapons by the North will be met by a
massive military response -- effective and overwhelming.”
North Korea’s actions compelled the alliance
to beef up its defenses by emplacing the Terminal High Altitude Area
Defense missile system in South Korea, the secretary said.
“Millions of ROK citizens and our forces are now better protected by
this wholly defensive system,” he said.
By Jim Garamone
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