N Korea war would be 'catastrophic: Mattis

Patrice Gainsbourg
Agosto 13, 2017

USA military strategists at the Pentagon have a military solution in place to address the growing threat emanating from North Korea, but they are holding their fire in favor of ongoing diplomatic efforts by Washington and its allies, Defense Secretary James Mattis said Thursday.

"My portfolio, my mission, my responsibility is to have military options if you need it", Mattis responded.

"The tragedy of war is well enough known".

Hours after President Donald Trump intensified his threat to rain "fire and fury" upon North Korea, Mattis said war would be "catastrophic".

Mattis did not elaborate on the diplomatic results he referenced, but the UN Security Council at the weekend passed a new set of sanctions against Pyongyang over its weapons program, including bans on the export of coal, iron and iron ore, lead and lead ore as well as fish and seafood.

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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.

"China should make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US territories and triggers USA retaliations, China will stay neutral. That's where we've been, that's where we are right now and that's where we hope to remain", he said.

While speaking to reporters at the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) event in Mountain View, California, he was asked by a reporter, "Can you talk about the human toll we might see in the event of a nuclear confrontation?" "I'm quite proud of what we've accomplished".

There are about 29,000 American troops permanently stationed in South Korea. "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".

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