Defense Secretary James Mattis: Diplomatic Effort on North Korea ‘Gaining Traction’

The tragedy of war is well enough known.

Deviating from the tone of President Trump, who said the US would unleash “fire and fury” upon North Korea, Mattis stressed that the route forward would be diplomatic, and he repeated the importance of the unanimous 15-1 United Nations Security Council vote to impose economic sanctions on North Korea. The sanctions – if applied fully – will affect a third of the regime’s income.

But asked whether the United States was ready if North Korea did commit a hostile act, he responded: ‘We are ready’.

“You’ll see, you’ll see”.

Trump has stated that he is prepared to engage in all-out war if North Korea launches its missiles.

Mattis made the remarks to reporters at an event in California on Thursday, adding that the USA prefers a diplomatic approach to the North Korean threat.

On Wednesday, North Korea threatened to conduct missile tests around Guam.

The Pentagon chief on Wednesday issued a carefully worded statement telling North Korea it would be “grossly” outmatched in any conflict with the United States, and warning Pyongyang to stop considering any action that risked “the destruction of its people”. “We should also make clear that, if the USA and South Korea carry out military attacks to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political landscape on the Korean Peninsula, China will be determined to take actions to prevent them from doing so”.

“I think the most important thing is to recognize, if you’re going to an objective down the track, and you want to take your vehicle and your train down the track, you need two rails”.

“On the situation on the Korean peninsula obviously the Secretary General remains extremely concerned by the ongoing situation; he’s troubled by the increase in confrontational rhetoric that we’ve seen”, a spokesman for Guterres said.

“Right now, we put diplomatic track out in front, and that is aligning allies, it’s bringing onboard people who often don’t agree on all issues. And he’ll see”, he said.

Speaking with reporters in Mountain View, California, Mattis said his responsibility was to have military options available, but that the American effort was focused on diplomacy.

The unanimous vote on the resolution “didn’t just happen by accident”, Mattis said. “That shows where the Trump administration goes in terms of the prioritizing of the threat, but also on how to deal with it in a diplomatically effective manner”.